A man accused of fatally stabbing a senior citizen who had kicked him out of his Palm Springs home, then leading police on a high-speed chase in the victim’s car, must stand trial on murder and other charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Jonathan Flora, 31, is accused in the May 2017 killing of 75-year-old Henry Marshall at his home at 2290 Park Drive.
In addition to murder, Flora faces felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, evading arrest, and vandalism, as well as four counts each of kidnapping and false imprisonment for allegedly driving four unwitting passengers around in Marshall’s car in an attempt to avoid police.
Flora, described in court documents as Marshall’s former roommate, was arrested hours after police discovered Marshall’s body — with multiple stab wounds to his head, face and body — floating facedown in his swimming pool, according to a declaration in support of an arrest warrant.
Police found a blood trail leading from the living room and through the back patio to the pool.
Court documents allege that Flora was found in possession of Marshall’s car, cell phone, driver’s license and credit cards when he was arrested after leading Palm Springs police on a pursuit the same day the victim’s body was found.
The defendant was wearing bloodied clothes, had a “significant cut on one finger” and was in possession of a black glove, which matched a glove found inside Marshall’s home, court papers allege.
The defendant told a passenger in the car that he had cut himself “because he had killed someone,” according to the declaration, which also alleges that Marshall’s neighbors told police they saw Flora crawling out of a window of the victim’s home on the night prior to the discovery of his body.
Flora also allegedly called someone from Marshall’s phone and used Marshall’s credit card to buy vodka from a liquor store on the day of Marshall’s death.
Though court documents don’t specify why Flora was allegedly kicked out of Marshall’s home or how long he had stayed there, a Palm Springs police report taken in February 2017 indicates the defendant grabbed Marshall by the neck and pressed a knife against him.
He was also previously convicted of burglarizing the Park Drive home in 2009, though police and prosecutors have not disclosed whether Marshall was the homeowner at that time.
Flora was spotted at 1:17 p.m. May 16 driving Marshall’s vehicle on southbound Palm Canyon Drive with four passengers and refused to pull over, triggering a chase, police said.
Flora reached speeds of 90 mph on Palm Canyon before driving onto the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, where the vehicle came to a rest near the trading post, police said.
Flora is being held in lieu of $3 million bail and is scheduled to return to court Nov. 21 for a post-preliminary hearing arraignment.