A 23-year-old man accused of fatally shooting two women sitting in a parked car in Riverside pleaded not guilty Friday to two counts of first-degree murder and other offenses.
Daniel Garcia of Riverside was arrested immediately after the attack earlier this month that took the lives of 21-year-old Gabriela Perez of Hemet and 20-year-old Miranda Duran of Riverside.
Along with the murder counts, Garcia is charged with a special circumstance allegation of taking multiple lives, as well as sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
He was arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Emma Smith, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for June 26 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
The defendant is being held without bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
According to Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback, the women were shot just after midnight on May 2 near the intersection of Alhambra and Cypress avenues, in the La Sierra Hills area.
Railsback said a woman called 911 stating her brother had “just shot two people,” after which officers converged on the location.
They found the victims in a parked gray Volkswagen, suffering from gunshot wounds. Officers immediately detained Garcia, who was found in possession of a handgun, Railsback said.
He did not disclose a possible motive for the killings, or whether Garcia knew the victims, both of whom were pronounced dead at the scene — one in the driver’s seat, and the other in the front passenger seat.
The defendant has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.
The special circumstance allegation will make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted, provided the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office decides to pursue it.