A Jan. 21 trial date was set Tuesday for a man accused of gunning down two young women in a car parked in west Riverside.
Daniel Garcia, 25, was arrested immediately after the May 2, 2018, attack that killed 21-year-old Gabriela Perez of Hemet and 20-year-old Miranda Duran of Riverside.
He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, with a special circumstance allegation of taking multiple lives, as well as sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
During a status hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice, Riverside County Superior Court Judge O.G. Magno conferred with the prosecution and defense regarding trial proceedings, and both sides tentatively agreed to be prepared to move forward in January. The judge scheduled an intervening hearing for Dec. 17 to confirm everyone is on track.
According to Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback, the two friends were shot just after midnight near the intersection of Alhambra and Cypress avenues, in the La Sierra Hills area.
Railsback said a woman called 911 stating that her brother had “just shot two people,” after which patrol officers converged on the location. They found the victims in a parked gray Volkswagen, suffering from gunshot wounds. Both were pronounced dead at the scene — one in the driver’s seat, and the other in the front passenger seat.
Officers immediately detained Garcia, who was found nearby, allegedly in possession of a .45-caliber handgun.
Prosecutors have not disclosed a possible motive for the killings, and no details about why the defendant allegedly targeted the women emerged during his preliminary hearing last December.
Garcia, who is being held without bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.
Although the special circumstance allegation makes him eligible for the death penalty if convicted, the District Attorney’s Office has decided against pursuing capital punishment.
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