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‘I’m screwed’: What a quadruple murder suspect told undercover agents in jail

An undercover agent gave testimony Thursday about what an accused quadruple murderer Jose Larin Garcia told him while he was posing as an inmate in jail.

In what is called a "Perkins operation," two law enforcement officers disguised themselves as inmates in a jail cell to try to get the truth from the suspected criminal at the Banning jail the day after Larin Garcia allegedly killed four people in Palm Springs in February 2019.

Larin Garcia revealed some key information during the 4-hour undercover operation, but stopped short of confessing.

The agent's identity was kept secret in court, only referred to as Investigator John Doe, a law enforcement veteran of 22 years.

He said he found common ground with Larin Garcia in their Hispanic heritage and spoke in Spanish to create a bond.

The agent's testimony recalled Larin Garcia trying to remember a song that had to do with the Spanish word "condena," which the agent said translates to not yet being sentenced, but already condemned to prison.

He said Larin Garcia told him that's how he felt, and used the Spanish word "tega," or "that hits."

When police advised Larin Garcia in the cell he was being charged with 3 homicides, the agent said, "He took it in stride. He wasn't upset about it, he wasn't concerned about it, almost a defeatist attitude." The agent said Larin Garcia didn't mention being falsely accused, as the defense claims, until later.

The agent said Larin Garcia used the Spanish word "fregada," which he said translates to an expletive meaning screwed.

When the agent asked Larin Garcia about whether there were any witnesses at the scene, he said he told him, "I think someone must have saw something."

Asked by the defense, the agent testified Larin Garcia never actually admitted to shooting anyone.

Police at the time of the undercover operation were still looking for the gun used. The agent asked Larin Garcia where it was, and he indicated that detectives already had it. A murder weapon has never been recovered in this case.

Wednesday, several law enforcement investigators testified including one who told the jury he didn't plant evidence in the defendant's car, as alleged by the defense.


Jose Larin Garcia, a Cathedral City man, is accused of killing four people (ages 17-25): Carlos Campos, Jacob Montgomery, Yuliana Garcia and Juan Duarte Raya nearly three years ago.

Jose Larin Garcia, 22

The four victims were all found shot and killed on the night of February 3rd, 2019.

Three of the victims were found inside a car that crashed at Sunny Dunes and El Placer roads. The fourth victim was discovered in the street on Canon Dr. few blocks away.

When police arrived on scene, they found Larin Garcia hiding under a truck. They say he appeared intoxicated and covered in blood. 

Larin Garcia was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center for treatment. Security footage shows him running away from the property later that night.

Detectives have testified he then went to a friend’s house who he had buy him a one-way bus ticket to Florida using a fake name. Prosecutors say he was preparing to flee – shaving his head and beard to change his appearance. He was arrested waiting at the bus stop.  

Larin Garcia is charged with four counts of murder. He also faces a special-circumstance allegation of committing multiple murders, opening him to the death penalty if convicted. 


In the fourth week, there was an intense debate over whether Jose Larin Garcia fled the hospital following the February 2019 killings.

Jurors heard from key forensic experts: a crime scene technician, a fingerprint examiner and a blood expert.

Crucial testimony was set up from undercover agents who posed as inmates and spoke with the defendant at length after the crimes.


The third week in this trial, jurors heard from John Olvera, the 18-year-old who the defense argues is actually responsible. Police investigated posts on his social media accounts that appeared to take credit for the murders, but Olvera testified in several instances he was publishing rap lyrics or "fronting" as a "wannabe gangster."

Department of Justice forensics specialist Nancy McCombs testified and said the multiple bullet casings that were recovered could have come from the same gun. No weapon was ever found in the investigation.

Prosecutors poked holes in testimony from one witness who changed his previous account on the stand, and Palm Springs police investigators testified about the evidence collected from the scene.


During the second week in court, the jury heard from Larin Garcia's mother, who says she received a call from her son on the night of the murders.

Two police officers who responded on the night of the murders also took the stand. One testified he saw a 'tall, thin' figure running near one of the crime scenes, but that person was never found or brought in for questioning. Larin-Garcia is not described as tall or thin. The court also heard from a family friend of Larin Garcia who helped him buy a one-way ticket to Florida the day after the murders. Larin Garcia was arrested before he could depart.

The court also heard from several witnesses including a neighbor, police detective and former friend of the accused. The friend shared that Larin Garcia had said he wanted to rob one of the victims prior to the killings.


During the first week in court, the prosecution delivered their opening statementThe defense then delivered their opening statement, arguing another man, John Olvera, is responsible for the four deaths.

Several witnesses were called to the stand, including a Palm Springs Police Department Dispatch Supervisor, several neighbors who heard gunshots or saw the victims' bodies, and individuals who knew the victims personally. The court also learned that 17-year-old victim Yuliana Garcia was pregnant at the time of her death.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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