A Cathedral City man who was convicted earlier this week of murdering four people in Palm Springs four years ago is now in the penalty phase of his trial. The same jury that found Jose Larin Garcia guilty on all counts will soon decide whether he should be sentenced to death.
The penalty phase began after the 12 jurors found Larin Garcia guilty of four first-degree murders and several special circumstances that could impose more severe punishments. The jury now faces a life or death decision in the case.
The prosecution, led by Deputy District Attorney Samantha Paixao, told the jury that they will now contemplate the magnitude of the loss they found Larin Garcia responsible for. Family members of the four victims will take the stand and share how they have been impacted by the murders.
"There might come a time when you have to come in front of Jose Vladimir Larin Garcia, and tell him that he deserves the death veredict for what he did, for what he took," Paixao said.
The jury will hear about Larin Garcia's behavior in custody, including razor blades discovered in his cell and confrontations with deputies, and from his ex-girlfriend about the abuse she says she suffered.
Defense Attorney John Patrick Dolan argued that the jury should consider factors such as Larin Garcia's young age at the time of the murders, his lack of prior felony convictions, and the fact that he was drunk during the murders. They can even consider sympathy for him.
"Compassion, or concern or anything else you can think about that you find as a reason for you do not recommend death for Mr. Larin Garcia," Dolan said.
Witness statements will begin on Thursday.