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Day 4 of Palm Springs quadruple homicide trial: more testimony from witnesses

It's day four in the Palm Springs quadruple homicide trial. Jose Larin-Garcia, a Cathedral City man, is accused of killing four people (ages 17-25): Carlos Campos Rivera, Jacob Montgomery, Yuliana Garcia and Juan Duarte Raya.

The 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 a few blocks away.

The prosecution says Garcia, Montgomery, Duarte, and accused killer Larin-Garcia were all driving together the night of the shooting in a green Toyota Corolla.

Jose Larin Garcia and his defense team in court on November 30, 2021. Photo: KESQ

Facebook messages shown in court revealed that Montgomery was on his way to sell drugs to Campos Rivera on the night of their deaths. 

Campos' girlfriend at the time, testified in court on Thursday.

News Channel 3's Madison Weil was back in court today listening to witnesses. While our cameras are not allowed inside in the courtroom, you can follow her live updates from court on Twitter.

Campos' girlfriend said that they lived together at the Casa Sandra Apartments in Palm Springs at the time of his death. She said the Facebook messages indicated that her boyfriend, Campos, was going to buy a blue fentanyl pill from Montgomery for $20. 

In opening statements, the prosecution said that moments later, Campos was shot and killed outside his home; the green Toyota Corolla then left Casa Sandra apartments and headed towards Sunny Dunes Road.

Neighbors who live on Sunny Dunes road, just a few blocks away, were called to the stand. They said that night in 2019 they heard a car speeding, multiple shots fired, and ran out to find the green Toyota Corolla, crashed. Witnesses who testified on Wednesday and Thursday say the airbags were deployed and three victims were inside. 

The prosecution says that Larin-Garcia was inside that Toyota Corolla with Montgomery, Duarte Raya and Garcia, and that he shot and killed them before jumping out of the car.

Another man testified on Thursday: a friend of Montgomery, Duarte Raya and Garcia. He says he was with them the night of their deaths, but he left the group early to go home because he had work the next morning. While the prosecutor was questioning him, he changed part of his story from what he originally reported to police: who was with his friends on the night of their death. According to prosecutors, his transcript from 2019 speaking with police said his friends were with a 'heavyset' man that might go by the name 'Vladis.'

Larin-Garcia's full name is Jose Vladimir Larin-Garcia.

The witness changed his story in court on Thursday, however, saying his friends were with a deceased man named Gio Mendoza, a cousin of Juan's. The judge said jurors can expect to hear from this witness again at a later date in the trial.

"You will learn that Jose Vladimir Larin Garcia is the executioner,” said Samantha Paixao, Deputy District Attorney, Riverside County, addressing the jury in court during opening statements on Monday

On Tuesday, the defense delivered their opening statement, arguing another man, John Olvera, is responsible for the four deaths.

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

We're expected to hear more testimony next week. Court will be back in session on Monday. Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing coverage.

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Madison Weil

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