The Palm Springs quadruple homicide trial resumed on Thursday, Jan. 6th. Court has been in recess for several weeks during the winter holidays.
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.
On Thursday, the court heard testimony from an investigator in the case. Since opening statements, the defense has argued that another man, John Olvera, is responsible for the murders. The defense has shown social media messages from Olvera in which he takes credit for the murders.
The investigator says he questioned John Olvera extensively after the murders and reviewed his social media communications. "[Olvera] was a wannabe gangster. He was a wannabe rapper,” he said.
He says on social media Olvera similarly took credit for a murder that happened at Zelda’s in Palm Springs. He was not arrested in that case, nor the Palm Springs quadruple homicide case, after being questioned by police.
The investigator also said he learned there was “street beef” and “hatred” between Olvera and Larin-Garcia over drug sales. Olvera told the investigator he did not know the four victims personally.
The prosecution says Olvera will be called to the stand on Monday.
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.
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.
News Channel 3's Madison Weil has been covering the trial since its start. You can follow her live updates from court on Twitter.
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. On Tuesday, the defense 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.