DAILY BRIEFING: Jury can’t decide fate of murder suspect, city to change homeless facility meeting format, and more

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, March 9. Expect sunny skies and a high of 77 degrees today. First, some news you need to know …

Mistrial declared in Palm Springs quadruple murder case

With jurors saying they were hopelessly deadlocked, a mistrial was declared Tuesday in the trial of a Cathedral City man accused of gunning down four people in Palm Springs.

Jurors deliberated over the course of seven days in the trial of Jose Vladimir Larin-Garcia, 22, who is charged with four counts of first degree murder for the Feb. 3, 2019, deaths of Jacob Montgomery, 19, Juan Duarte Raya, 18, Yuliana Garcia, 17, and Carlos Campos Rivera, 25.

On Tuesday morning, the jury notified Riverside County Superior Court Judge Anthony Villalobos that they were unable to reach a verdict. The judge spoke with the panel and gave them additional instructions and asked them to resume deliberations.

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But a short time later, the jury reported no progress and indicated they were hopelessly deadlocked.

Villalobos dismissed the panel, thanking them for their service. He later scheduled Larin-Garcia for a trial-readiness conference on June 17 to begin the re-trial process.

Larin-Garcia remains held without bail at the Benoit Detention Center in Indio.

FULL STORY: Jurors can’t reach decision in Palm Springs quadruple murder case; re-trial process to begin in June

? Briefly

About 75 residents of Desert Highland Gateway Estates and neighboring homes and apartments came to a March 3 meeting on a planned homeless services center.

NEW APPROACH AT NEXT MEETING: Acknowledging the first meeting with the community about a planned homeless services center didn’t go as hoped, city leaders on Tuesday promised a scheduled second meeting would include an opportunity for open discussion. “We really want to create a forum in which everybody feels they are being heard,” Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner said during a meeting of the Desert Highland Gateway Estates Community Action Association. “We don’t want it to be something people leave feeling upset about, which is, I think, what happened last time.” During an initial meeting on March 3, residents left feeling frustrated when instructed to speak to consultants staffing tables set up in a gymnasium instead of directly to Palm Springs and Riverside County officials. Specifically, many wanted to know why the city didn’t approach the community before deciding to build the facility in their neighborhood. Garner acknowledged their frustrations Tuesday and urged community members to work with the city to ensure any reservations they have are addressed. “The city by law is allowed to build a center like this wherever they want,” she said. “That’s what makes it difficult.” The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 15, at 6 p.m. It will once again be held in the James O. Jesse Desert Highland Unity Center gymnasium.

PLANS FOR COLONY 29: The owner of a popular wedding venue in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood has plans to add to it, according to documents submitted to the city’s Department of Development Services. The Colony 29 property, tucked against the hillside at 147 South Tahquitz Drive, contains six buildings on seven acres and dates back to 1929 when artist John Paul Burnham started an artists’ colony on the site. Investor Ron Burkle purchased the property, along with The O’Donnell House, Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn, and Le Vallauris restaurant, three years ago. Plans submitted with the city last month show that a Burkle company, Soho House Palm Springs, wants to construct a private swimming club on the property using some existing buildings. The project has three components: An entry building that retains the existing footprint, exterior walls, features, and foundations of a building known as Montie’s Bunkhouse; a two-story pool house built using the Burnham House; and a new row of fifteen cabanas adjacent to a pool. The developer has not applied for a permit to begin construction. 

? Today’s events

For more events in Palm Springs today, check the complete community calendar. Want your event listed? Just click here.

? What to watch for

  • Palm Canyon Theatre continues its performance of Palm Springs Getaway Thursday through Sunday.
  • Dezart Performs will stage The Mountaintop again this weekend at the Pearl McManus Theater.
  • The Richard M. Milanovich Legacy Hike and 5K Run at Indian Canyons on Friday is open for registration.
  • Want to help plant trees? More than 150 volunteers are needed on Saturday to plant trees at Desert Highland Park, Victoria Park and Demuth Park.
  • The Shamrock 5K will be held Saturday, starting at the Palm Springs American Legion. Registration is open now.
  • Heart-to-Heart Palm Springs is selling tickets for its Military Women Appreciation Luncheon on Saturday. Details are here.
  • The Palm Springs Post and Palm Springs Cultural Center present their first free “Community Conversations” event on March 14.
  • The Mizell Center’s Third Wednesday Speaker Series continues on March 16 with Bill Goldstein, Larry Kramer’s authorized biographer, discussing Mr. Kramer’s life and work
  • The ONE-PS Annual Neighborhood Picnic is slated for March 19 at Ruth Hardy Park.
  • Palm Springs The Musical: Born to Sparkle premieres at Desert Rose Playhouse on March 24. It runs Thursdays through Sundays until April 10.
  • Palm Canyon Theatre is staging Cyrano de Bergerac from March 31 until April 3.

Miss a day? Read past newsletters here.

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