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Desert Hot Springs man sentenced 32-years-to-life for shooting sleeping ex-girlfriend

Sergio Marques
Palm Springs Police Department
Sergio Marques

A Desert Hot Springs man was sentenced today to 32 years to life in prison for shooting his ex-girlfriend through a window of her Palm Springs apartment while she slept.

Sergio Juan Marques, 41, was convicted June 24 of one count each of attempted murder, spousal abuse, shooting at a dwelling, and assault on a person causing great bodily injury, along with several sentence-enhancing allegations.

Authorities said Marques shot Jovanna Tapia in a leg while she slept at the Palos Verdes Villas apartment complex at 392 E. Stevens Road in June 2019. Tapia testified during the trial, saying she woke up in the early morning hours of June 8, 2019, to a sensation of pain emanating from her lower body.

"I just remember sitting up and feeling pain," she said. "I felt blood gushing out of my leg."

Tapia testified she spent four days in the hospital. She said the bullet pierced an artery and entered her bladder.
According to Tapia, she dated Marques for about three months before breaking up with him. She said he had become overly possessive and jealous, and in one instance, slapped her.

"I asked him to leave one night and from that moment, everything changed," she said during a preliminary hearing in September 2020.

Tapia said that after the break-up, Marques began stalking her, and once texted her a photo of a handgun. She said when she woke up after being shot, she saw her first-floor bedroom sliding glass window shattered. She yelled for her young daughter, who was sleeping in the next room, to call 911.

Police arrived shortly afterward and found the victim wounded, but no suspects at the scene, according to Palm Springs Police Department Detective Edman Escallada. Police found .45-caliber rounds, Escallada said. A handgun of the same caliber was later located in a vehicle belonging to Marques, the detective testified.

Investigators also used the defendant's cell phone number to place him near Tapia's apartment at the time of the shooting, according to Deputy District Attorney Michael Tripp. Tapia testified she did not see who shot her, but told police that Marques was the probable shooter based on his stalking behavior. Marques' roommate told police that the defendant had asked her if she "could hire or find somebody to shoot Ms. Tapia," Escallada testified.

According to the detective, Marques told his roommate repeatedly that he wanted somebody to shoot his ex-girlfriend in order to scare her into leaving him alone. He claimed she was the one who was bothering him, Escallada said.

Marques was arrested Jan. 24, 2020, at a home in Desert Hot Springs. He had no prior documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.

City News Service

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