Blood stain pattern interpreter dismantles key defense argument in Palm Springs quadruple murder trial
In the trial for a man accused of murdering four people in Palm Springs in 2019, a blood stain pattern interpretation expert continued his testimony Wednesday.
Craig Ogino used blood spatter and physics in this case to reconstruct the victims' positions in their final moments. Blood on the inside and outside of the crashed Toyota Corolla allowed him to figure out exactly where they were when they got shot.
Using the size, direction and angles of blood stains, he determined a "point of origin," or where the blood came from.
Good morning, we are tracking the latest from the Palm Springs quadruple murder trial. Follow along with my live tweets in the thread below. @KESQ— Jake Ingrassia (@JakeKESQ) February 2, 2022
More background: https://t.co/TyGFoeDq23
"High energy" blood spatter is what Ogino said he's most interested in, which indicates a gun shot wound.
Jacob Montgomery suffered two gunshot wounds to the right side of his face. He is believed to have been sitting in the back seat, on the left.
According to Ogino's calculations, Montgomery would have been 27 inches above the driver's seat, 14.5 inches from the left rear door, and 12.5 inches from the back of the seat.
Ogino also examined a black H&M jacket that was discovered under the truck where Larin Garcia was hiding after the murders. The jacket had Montgomery's blood on it, and using scientific methods, Ogino was able to determine the jacket was facing Montgomery when he was shot, and had to be within 2 feet.
Ogino believes there were only two people in the back seat, dismantling the defense's argument that a third person, who they believe is the actual murderer, was back there too.
The prosecution says, therefore, Larin Garcia was the only other person in the back seat and had to be the killer.
Tuesday, Ogino testified that blood stains linked to victim Juan Duarte Raya by DNA analysis on the exterior of the crashed Toyota Corolla showed that Raya had his head out the front passenger window when he was shot twice in the head.
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.
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. https://94074ba3f981382123d0a534f30e99d9.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
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.
WEEK 5 IN COURT:
During the fifth week, the defense worked to prove that Larin Garcia was framed. A forensic investigator testified she didn't plant evidence, but some errors could have been made in the processing of evidence.
A Coroner's office forensic pathologist revealed autopsies for two of the victims found multiple gunshot wounds to the head as the causes of death.
A PSPD investigator testified he didn't plant a bullet casing in the suspect's trunk to frame him.
An undercover agent who posed as an inmate in Larin Garcia's jail cell after the murders testified the suspect told him he was "screwed."
WEEK 4 IN COURT:
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.
WEEK 3 IN COURT:
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.
WEEK 2 IN COURT:
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.
WEEK 1 IN COURT:
During the first week in court, the prosecution delivered their opening statement. The 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.