Larin-Garcia Murder Re-Trial Proceeds with Testimony of Man Defense Says Is Real Murderer

By Leslie Acevedo, Brinda Kalita, Kevin Barragan and Michael McCutcheon 

RIVERSIDE, CA- The re-trial of Jose Larin-Garcia, charged with multiple murders, reconvened Monday in Larson Justice Center here in Riverside County Superior Court.

The accused did not appear in court, John Dolan appeared for the defense, the judge was Anthony Villalobos and the prosecutor was Deputy District Attorney Samantha Paixao.

The witness, a friend of the two victims, said, “I believe it was John Olvera”—Olvera is the real killer, Defense Counsel Attorney John Dolan has argued, and that claim helped lead to a jury mistrial in the first go-around in the case.

The witness acknowledged she had information in the case and went to the police department with her mom and presented material to the Palm Springs Police Department, but that the police did nothing about it and they had not been contacted by the Palm Springs Police Department since 2019.

The next witness called to the stand was Olvera himself, the man the defense thinks is responsible for the quadruple homicides in 2019.

In his testimony, Olvera admits that he told people on his Instagram page that he was in custody for “street credit,” or rather, his image.

“Me going in custody… It’s all a part of the image,” he said.

Olvera also shared that he had once gotten into a physical fight with the victims. This fight originally started as an online “internet beef.” He also admitted during this fight he pointed a BB gun at one of the victims.

However, Olvera mentioned that the victim, or rather a “homie,” had a knife on him and the two started fighting.

DDA Paixao then asked if Olvera had heard of Larin-Garcia. Olvera admitted that he met Larin-Garcia, whom he called “Vladis,” when he was 15 at community school. ‘

Olvera mentioned that Larin-Garcia was older than him and they never really interacted, but that he had beat up one of his “homies” (friends) which made Olvera upset. This had happened a year before the murders.

He also said Larin-Garcia had Xanax on him and his friends had fought with him in order to get ahold of the Xanax. Olvera claimed  he did not participate in the fights, but he had watched them fight from the sidelines. This happened a couple of months after the fight but before the homicide.

Olvera also said he had contacted one of Larin-Garcia’s girlfriends via Facebook and tried to flirt with her in order to “push his buttons.”

After Larin-Garcia discovered Olvera flirting with his girlfriend, Olvera said Larin-Garcia decided to fight Olvera at the marketplace with a pistol. Olvera then admitted that he lost his cell phone during the fight.

Counsel Dolan presented to the court an audio recording of Olvera that allegedly caught him making incriminating statements while being under the influence.

When questioned by the defense on whether it was he in the audio recording, Olvera said, “Yes I was smoked the f*** out.” Olvera continued to talk about being high on methamphetamines and the judge scolded him to quiet down and let the defense finish his questioning.

But Olvera kept interrupting while the court was listening to a recording as he was acknowledging he was on methamphetamines.

The defense continued to question the witness on why he said “feen for blood…nobody wanna play now” and the terminology “Ni**as.” Olvera was questioned why he said the racial term in his wording, insinuating he was racist. 

Olvera answered, “I’m not racist, I’m from the ‘hood” which is slang for neighborhood and his phrasing was from “Youngboi” which influenced him to say “you got shot in yo face”

The court moved onto a new transcript which was attached to another exhibit to present to the court. However, the judge found the transcripts attached to the corresponding exhibits to be inaccurate and demanded defense counsel present the accurate transcripts with the exhibit audios for the court to review.

Defense counsel provided transcripts but the judge said, “These are not the right ones…”

Defense wanted to provide them in chronological order, but the trier of fact explained the exhibit was attached to the wrong transcription, saying he didn’t put the transcripts in erroneous order.  Judge Villalobos demanded he play the audio recording they had reviewed from earlier, notwithstanding that the defense council had played D29 already with the accurate transcript.

When the defense counsel played the audio recording and continued with his direct examination of Olvera, the judge shouted, “All right counsel… no stop… HOLD ON…HOLD ON!!!!” He advised the defense team to bring back the accurate transcripts to present to court and they adjourned to return in 30 minutes.

When the court reconvened, Defense Attorney Dolan continued his line of questioning regarding Olvera’s social media use and communications.

Olvera stated he did not recall ever communicating with either Jake Montgomery or Juan Raya. However, he noted that he would have been too high on methamphetamine or marijuana to remember saying anything.

Defense Attorney Dolan then asks Olvera about a police interview in Nov. 2021 about the murders.

In the interview, Olvera recalled having a fight with Montgomery. Defense Attorney Dolan quoted Olvera from the interview’s transcript, “I whipped out a knife right there, but then he, he didn’t wanna, inaudible, he didn’t wanna do it so.” Olvera refuted the transcript’s quotation about the knife, stating that one of his friends had it, not him.

Defense Attorney Dolan proceeded with further questions, asking Olvera if he recalled the investigator inquiring about the severity of his beef with Montgomery and if Olvera ever wanted to kill him.

Olvera responded, “I probably said no, cause I don’t wish death upon nobody.”
Defense Attorney Dolan then read the transcript from the interview in answer to his own question, “I mean, hell yeah. The f**k? I mean, once they wanna take it there, they wanna take it there. And before we got at the street fair, before that, I would’ve, I would’ve caught [Montgomery] in the streets but it wasn’t my territory.”

Olvera contested part of this transcript, insisting that he said “if they wanna take it there,” not, “once they wanna take it there.”

Olvera continued to be questioned about whether he stated if any of the victims were his enemies to police during the interview. Defense Attorney Dolan answered this question with the transcript, reading, “Well, yeah, three of them, like Jacob and [inaudible] they were both my enemies.”

To end his direct examination, Defense Attorney Dolan noted Olvera’s criminal history, particularly his drug possession charges and a charge for an illegal BB pellet gun replica of a handgun.

Olvera, throughout this portion of the examination, stated that he did not understand the purpose of noting his criminal history in such detail.

The trial is ongoing this week.

About The Author

Leslie Acevedo is a senior undergraduate student at California State University, Long Beach, majoring in Criminology/Criminal Justice. She intends to pursue a Master's Degree in Forensic Science or Criminal Justice. She aspires to become a forensic investigator.

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