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19-year-old suspect in quadruple killing in Palm Springs eligible for death penalty

19-year-old suspect in quadruple killing in Palm Springs eligible for death penalty
Jose Larin-Garcia was charged with four counts of murder. District attorney Mike Hestrin will determine whether to pursue the death penalty. (Palm Springs Police Department)

A 19-year-old man suspected in the fatal shooting of four people in Palm Springs was ordered Thursday to stand trial on murder charges, authorities said.

Jose Larin-Garcia, of Cathedral City, was charged with four counts of murder Feb. 6, days after police found the bodies of the four victims, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. Larin-Garcia is also charged with a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, which makes him eligible for the death penalty.

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Dist. Atty. Mike Hestrin will decide whether to pursue capital punishment in the case, said John Hall, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.

Palm Springs police responded to a report of a crash on the night of Feb. 2 near the intersection of Sunny Dunes Road and El Placer Road, authorities said. When officers arrived at the scene, they found three of the victims, Jacob Montgomery, 19, Duarte Raya, 18, and Juliana Garcia, 17, inside the car. All had been shot in the head.

A short time later, police received another call of a man lying in the middle of the road about a mile from the first crime scene, police said. Carlos Campos Rivera, 25, also died of gunshot wounds.

“We cannot recall the last time we had four homicide victims” in Palm Springs, Police Chief Bryan Reyes said at a news conference after the shootings.

Larin-Garcia was arrested two days after the killings on unrelated charges at an Indio Greyhound bus station, according to inmate records. Past charges against Larin-Garcia include two misdemeanor DUI offenses.

At a preliminary hearing, Palm Springs Police Det. Barron Lane testified that Larin-Garcia had a bus ticket to Tampa, Fla., when he was arrested at the bus station, according to the Desert Sun. Larin-Garcia had shaved his head and beard.

Police have not determined a motive in the case.

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