An undercover agent gave testimony Monday about what an accused quadruple murderer told him while he was posing as an inmate in jail.
Jose Larin Garcia is accused of murdering four people in Palm Springs in 2019. His first trial ended with a deadlocked jury.
While being recorded and observed by undercover agents in his jail cell, Larin Garcia revealed some key information for jurors to now consider, but stopped short of confessing to the crimes.
Undercover agent "John Doe" took the stand Monday. He spent four hours in a Banning jail cell with Larin Garcia the day after four people were murdered in February 2019.
Doe conducted what's called a "Perkins" operation, in which law enforcement officers portray inmates to try to elicit information from suspected criminals.
As the two developed a relationship, Larin Garcia told the agent he was "looking at life" in prison.
When officers announced he was being booked on murder charges, Doe said Larin Garcia's reaction was "odd," and that he "took it in stride" without being upset or angry about being in custody.
Doe called the response inconsistent, in his experience, with someone who is innocent.
Larin Garcia claimed several times in the cell he's innocent, though Doe said, "It was just words coming out of his mouth...It definitely didn't convince me."
But Doe saw Larin Garcia's demeanor shift dramatically when law enforcement said his mother could possibly be charged with a crim. Larin Garcia said, "She had nothing to do it, she didn't know."
Talking about the strength of his case, Larin Garcia said he was "screwed." He also lied to the agents about seeing his mother after the killings.
Doe said at no point did Larin Garcia mention John Olvera, the man the defense says committed the murders, and never mentioned that he was in fear for his life and had to flee town.
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 four 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 from the hospital 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.
WEEK 4 IN COURT:
A friend of Larin Garcia's told the jury that the defendant showed him a gun and threatened to kill someone just days before the murders.
A PSPD detective testified about evidence she collected from the scene and security video she retrieved of Larin Garcia running out of the hospital.
A girlfriend of one of the victims' spoke about showing police Facebook messages sent the night of the murders regarding the fentanyl drug deal at the heart of these murders.
The man the defense says claimed responsibility for the murders testified he did not kill the four victims in this case.
WEEK 3 IN COURT:
Last week, a family friend who harbored Larin Garcia after he fled the from the hospital testified. The jury also heard from the investigator who arrested him later that night at an Indio bus stop.
Larin Garcia's mother took the stand, revealing he called her the night of the murders and she brought him clothes and a cell phone after he ran from the hospital.
Medical examiners testified the victims were all killed instantly by gunshot wounds to the head.
A friend of the defendant spoke about a key phone call she got from the defendant just after the murders happened.
WEEK 2 IN COURT:
The jury heard from a police investigator and a friend of some of the victims.
A hospital nurse who treated Larin Garcia as a trauma patient the night of the murders testified he ran from the emergency department.
A Palm Springs police officer gave testimony key to the defense argument that another man carried out the shootings.
The jury was brought on-location to the scene of the crimes.
WEEK 1 IN COURT:
During opening statements, prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney Samantha Paixao asked the jury to hold Larin Garcia responsible for the four lives she said he stole.
Defense attorney John Patrick Dolan argued that another man, John Olvera, was responsible for the murders.
The jury heard from some of the first people on scene after the murders, including neighbors who saw the dead bodies and the police officer who first made contact with the suspect.