Man Accused of 4 Deaths Requests to be Housed Closer to Riverside Superior Court During Trial

By Veronica De Santos

RIVERSIDE, CA ​​Jose Larin-Garcia, 21, faces the death penalty for the alleged murder of four victims in Palm Springs, and at his trial here in Riverside County Superior Court Friday, his defense counsel asked the court if Larin-Garcia could be housed in Indio so he does not have to wake up at 2 a.m. to go to court.

In February of 2019, Palm Springs police found three of the victims shot in the head inside a crashed car. After a few hours, a man was also found dead with gunshot wounds about a mile from Larin-Garcia’s location. 

Two days after the murders Larin-Garcia was arrested and charged, with the prosecution seeking the death penalty.

Defense Counsel John Patrick Dolan argued that his client is being unfairly treated because Larin-Garcia has to travel so far to get to court.

“There’s a danger he might fall asleep (in the trial),” the attorney said, because Larin-Garcia wakes up at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. to be in court. Defense Counsel Dolan further said that being tired in court does not look good in front of the jury. 

But Deputy District Attorney Samantha Paixao said that Larin-Garcia can take a break if he is exhausted.

The decision of his housing depends on his behavior both in court and in jail. But the DDA said Larin-Garcia has had three incidents with law enforcement, including alleged attacks on law enforcement officers, and escape attempts.

Larin-Garcia also attempted to flee the state after the quadruple homicide, she said. 

DDA Paixao also pointed out two safety concerns, including having Larin-Garcia unshackled. She stated that it is not only important keep the attorneys safe, but the jurors and civilians as well. She requested more deputies in the courtroom.

The judge responded that Larin-Garcia has had exemplary behavior in the courtroom, and there have been no issues with his being unshackled. 

The judge approved future hearings for Larin-Garcia to have a leg bracelet that prevents him from having full leg mobility, and the courtroom will have two deputies. 

The second concern from DDA Paixao is with the mother of Larin-Garcia in the courtroom. She claims she observed a note being passed from the mother to defense counsel and then to Larin-Garcia. 

“It is a direct violation of the code,” said DDA Paixao. 

The judge stated that he was aware of the note, which said, reportedly, “I love you.” The judge said, “As long as the counsel sees it, and it says I love you from his mom, I really don’t think that’s an issue at all…We are all humans here; it is not her fault that her son is here in quadruple homicide.”

Moreover, Defense Counsel Dolan pointed out that “this is a death penalty [case], he [Larin-Garcia] is fighting for his life so I think is very important that we can find a resolution to this.” 

The next hearing will take place Tuesday Oct. 12.

About The Author

Veronica De Santos is a Sociology and Spanish student at UCLA with interest in law and court interpretation.

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