A man convicted of a quadruple murder in Riverside County was sentenced to the death penalty, officials announced Friday.
Jose Vladimir Larin Garcia, 24, was found guilty by a jury on Feb. 6 of the execution-style murders of four people in Palm Springs, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
The victims were identified as:
- Carlos Campos-Rivera, 25
- Jacob Montgomery, 19
- Juan Duarte-Raya, 18
- Yuliana Garcia, 17, who was also pregnant at the time
On Feb. 3, 2019, Larin Garcia was riding in a vehicle with three victims. They drove to meet up with a fourth victim, Campos-Rivera, outside of his apartment complex.
When Campos-Rivera was spotted, the suspect shot him twice, including a “kill-shot to the head,” before the vehicle drove away.
According to a witness, the other three victims were heard screaming from inside the car when multiple gunshots were heard before a loud crash.
Arriving officers spotted the crashed vehicle on Sunny Dunes Road where inside, the bodies of Montgomery, Duarte-Raya and Yuliana Garcia were found. All victims were found with “targeted gunshot wounds to the head,” authorities said.
Yuliana Garcia’s hand was also found injured, believed to have occurred as she “tried to shield herself from the barrage of gunfire at close range,” the DA’s office said.
The suspect ran from the scene and was located a few blocks away, hiding underneath a truck. He was “spattered in the victims’ blood, with his shoes and jacket removed” at the time, police said.
Authorities transported the suspect to the hospital to treat multiple abrasions. While there, he called his mother and told her he needed to speak with a lawyer. He later fled barefoot from the hospital still wearing his medical gown, authorities said.
The next day, investigators located and arrested the suspect at a Greyhound bus station. He had shaved his head, changed into different clothing and was holding a Florida-bound bus ticket booked under a fake name, court documents said.
He was charged with four counts of murder, but a mistrial was declared in March 2022. A second trial was held where the jury found the suspect guilty of four counts of first-degree murder.
They also found true the allegation of the personal use of a firearm and the special circumstances of lying in wait, along with multiple victims involved. Due to these special circumstances, he was eligible for a death sentence, the DA’s office explained.
On Feb. 9, a Riverside County judge affirmed the jury’s findings that Larin Garcia should be sentenced to death.
“The death penalty is reserved for those who have truly proven themselves to be without remorse for actions that are among the most egregious imaginable,” said Mike Hestrin, Riverside County District Attorney. “The decision made today is not one made lightly, but reflects the heinous nature of these crimes, committed by a man who took so much away from so many people, for something so inconsequential.”
“The magnitude of the crimes that the defendant committed that night was enormous,” said Samantha Paixao, the Deputy DA who prosecuted the case. “It was five victims who were taken. Carlos, Jacob, Juan, Yuliana, and her unborn child. Their loss left a gaping wound in their lives. Mothers and fathers who are left without their child, children who have to grow up without their father, their grandchild, the siblings who must go on without their loved one.”