Palm Springs quadruple homicide: Re-trial begins after previous jury deadlocked
The man accused in a quadruple murder in Palm Springs nearly four years ago is back in court for a re-trial.
In March, a previous jury told the judge they were "hopelessly deadlocked" with a split vote and could not reach a unanimous decision on whether Jose Larin Garcia was guilty.
Opening statements and witness testimony began Wednesday for Larin Garcia's new trial. He is accused of murdering four people: Carlos Campos Rivera, Jacob Montgomery, Yuliana Garcia and Juan Duarte Raya on Feb. 3, 2019.
Prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney Samantha Paixao made the case the murders happened as the result of a drug deal gone bad.
"The evidence will show...that the executioner the one that killed every single one of those victims on February 3 of 2019 is Jose Vladimir Larin Garcia," Paixao said.
The prosecution said Larin Garcia was riding in the back seat of a Toyota Corolla with three of the victims when he shot them each twice. The fourth victim was found blocks away.
Six shots and a car crash can be heard on home video surveillance from near the scene.
Defense attorney John Dolan argued that another man, John Olvera, was in the back seat too – and he is who actually committed the murders.
"The question for this trial is who did the shooting. And that's what you'll have to decide," Dolan said.
Dolan said Olvera took credit for the murders online in social media posts, though Olvera himself will testify in the trial he was merely posing online for "street cred."
After the murders, Larin Garcia was found hiding under a truck near the scene. He had removed his bloodied jacket and shoes. He was taken to the hospital where overnight surveillance video showed him running from his room.
Larin Garcia then shaved his head and tried to take a Greyhound bus to Florida under a fake name.
The prosecution said this demonstrates his guilt, while the defense argued he was running from the real killer.
"The evidence will show there's no way that Mr. Larin Garcia was proven to have committed these four acts," Dolan said.
"I will stand before you at the end of this trial and ask you to hold him accountable...for what he stole on that night: four people's lives," Paixao said.
Wednesday afternoon, witnesses took the stand including bystanders the night of the murders like a man who drove by a body in the road and another man who heard a crash down the street.
The last trial held 8 weeks of testimony and for this retrial, counsel expects another long haul – hoping to reach a verdict this time around.