Suspect in a pair of Palm Springs murders being held without bail

Acting Palm Springs Police Chief Melissa Desmarais speaks Wednesday morning at a news conference announcing murder charges against a 31-year-old Palm Springs man, pictured at far right.

Palm Springs police are crediting the community for helping them identify a suspect in a pair of murders in the city this year. Today that suspect is in jail, being held without bail.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday morning, Acting Police Chief Melissa Desmarais said neighbors near each crime scene came forward to provide video footage and other evidence that helped police identify 31-year-old Luis Cantor of Palm Springs as the suspect. Cantor is being held without bail in the Southwest Detention Center in Banning. He is charged with two counts of murder, three counts of burglary, and one count of assault on a person causing great bodily injury, all of which are felonies.

Cantor was arrested in the 2200 block of Caliente Drive in Palm Springs on August 25 when police found him unconscious in a car. He allegedly tried to flee, injuring officers in the process, but was captured. He was later found to be in possession of a stolen firearm and had multiple warrants for his arrest, police said.

During the arrest, Desmarais said police found what they deemed “substantial evidence“ linking Cantor to the July killing of 80-year-old Joseph Rajczi. The evidence, along with “multiple similarities” between Rajczi’s death and that of 59-year-old Jennifer Dillon, led investigators to suspect Cantor of both killings.

Dillon was discovered dead inside her home in the 2800 block of Davis Way by a neighbor on January 25. Police initially declared the death to be suspicious but did not declare it a homicide until days later. Rajczi was found dead by police on July 30, when they responded to an unattended death report in the 1100 block of east Via Colusa. Officials did not declare his death to be a homicide until a week later. Rajczi was a Holocaust survivor and had recently retired.

Desmarais said that Cantor has a history of burglaries in the community dating back to 2010. Court records show he has multiple aliases and multiple warrants for his arrest dating back to 2018. Desmarais declined to elaborate on the nature of the similarities or the evidence linking Cantor to Rajczi’s death. Cantor allegedly killed Dillon and Rajczi while in the midst of burglarizing their homes, according to the felony complaint filed Wednesday by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

Desmarais said there does not appear to be any link between the two victims and Cantor. He is scheduled to appear at the Larson Justice Center in Indio today for an arraignment. Charges filed against him include an allegation of murder during the commission of a felony. If the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office opts to pursue it, that charge could lead to a possible death sentence for Cantor.


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