“As much as I would like to start off this press conference with a good afternoon, I can’t in good conscience actually say that. I’m here to deliver some pretty disturbing news,” former Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes said.
Super Bowl Sunday, 2019.
Four people found dead with gunshot wounds in Palm Springs, three of them were teenagers.
Nearly three years to the day, juror deliberations began at the Larson Justice Center in Indio to come to a verdict for defendant Jose Vladimir Larin-Garcia who is accused of killing four people in Palm Springs.
On February 3, 2019, three teenage victims were found inside a Toyota Corolla that crashed in Palm Springs at around 11:40 p.m.
The fourth victim was found 30 minutes later lying on the street about a half-mile away.
“All four victims having received gunshot wounds which causes us to believe that there is a likelihood of them being related,” Chief Reyes continued.
Deputy District Attorney Samantha Paixao said Larin-Garcia was inside the Toyota with the three victims when one of the teens was planning to make a drug deal.
That’s when Larin-Garcia allegedly fatally shot one of the victims who was leaning on the car outside.
After the shooting, the driver sped off, but Larin-Garcia allegedly shot the driver and the rest of the people inside the car before jumping out.
According to the preliminary hearing, Larin-Garcia was later found by officers hiding under a pickup just blocks away from the scene.
After treatment for minor injuries, he went to a friend’s house where he was brought fresh clothes, an ID card, bandages and a Greyhound bus ticket to Florida under the name of “Joseph Browning.”
Larin-Garcia was later arrested at the bus station in Indio.
Paixao said blood on the defendant’s shoes and jacket matched the DNA of the victims and found bullet casings that matched those that were found inside his bedroom and vehicle.
Larin-Garcia’s Defense Attorney John Dolan says the blood and bullet casings didn’t prove murder and pointed out suspicious social media posts from John Olvera, who was 15 at the time, suggesting he was the killer.
Paixao dismissed these messages, saying there was no evidence of a fifth person in the car and pointed to eyewitness accounts.
Now, Larin-Garcia remains in jail without bail and is charged with four counts of first degree murder, a special circumstance allegation of targeting multiple victims and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
“We literally cannot recall the last time we had four homicide victims.” Chief Reyes explained. “If this should become related, with both scenes, we cannot recall the last time we had four victims.”
All of this could potentially make Larin-Garcia eligible for the death penalty.
Now, we wait for a verdict which could come out in the next few days.