By Naya Wiezel
RIVERSIDE, CA – A trial reconvened here in Riverside County Superior Court Thursday for a man accused of a quadruple homicide in Palm Springs in 2019, with a key witness testifying before the jury.
This is the second time the prosecution is trying this case against the accused, Jose Vladimir Larin-Garcia, after the first trial resulted in a hung jury.
The prosecution asked a witness, a friend of Larin-Garcia, about the night of the murders. According to the witness, he and the accused were in a car “rolling a blunt” and were discussing the accused’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend, who is referred to as “HM.”
The witness testified Larin-Garcia asked the witness to call his own girlfriend to speak to HM about the situation, to which the girlfriend texted the witness back saying she did not want to do this.
The witness then told Larin-Garcia his girlfriend “did not want to do that.” The witness was uncertain about what Larin-Garcia’s response was after that.
The prosecution, led by Deputy District Attorney Samantha Paixao, questioned whether the witness was being truthful with his testimony.
The witness then added that Larin-Garcia stated he would “kill a man if he did not get no p***y.” After the accused made this statement, the witness and the accused drove around the Gateway community of Palm Springs.
The witness also testified that the accused grabbed his firearm with his right hand from the backseat and placed it onto his lap, as they drove around the neighborhood. According to the witness, the firearm was a gray pistol.
The prosecution then asked the witness what he believed Larin-Garcia was planning to do once he grabbed the pistol, to which the witness stated that he believed Larin-Garcia was “going to kill someone.”
The witness then testified that they spent about 20 to 30 minutes driving around the Gateway community, which they had never driven through together before. He also added that they did not see anyone walking on the streets at this point.
The witness then stated that Larin-Garcia stated he “wants to rob him, set him up,” which was in reference to one of the victims of the quadruple homicide.
The prosecution then asked the witness, “Did you tell law enforcement back on February 19 that you thought that [the accused] wanted to kill [the victim] when he asked you to ‘set him up’?”
The witness answered he did tell law enforcement this, because Larin-Garcia and his friends were together with one of the victims one night. On that night, Larin-Garcia was beaten up by the victim’s friend, said the witness, who added. Larin-Garcia’s response was, “Don’t ever let me catch you guys in…again.”
Larin-Garcia’s defense, led by private attorney John Dolan, objected to the prosecution’s line of questioning multiple times throughout the witness’s testimony.
However, Judge Anthony Villabolos overruled the objections and allowed the witness to answer the prosecution’s questions.