A Desert Hot Springs man admitted to police that he killed his 69-year-old neighbor, saying it was in self-defense, a police detective testified Tuesday.
Albert Marchain, 29, was arrested a day after the death of Stanislaw Tokarski, whose body was found with multiple stab wounds on Nov. 12, 2018, in the 66900 block of Hacienda Avenue.
Prosecution testimony began Monday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio in the trial of Marchain, who could be sentenced to a maximum 56 years to life in prison if convicted of murder, with a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a weapon — a knife — in the commission of a murder.
Desert Hot Springs Police Department Detective Christopher Tooth testified that the defendant claimed he killed Tokarski in order to defend himself, but that the investigation did not bear out that theory.
A video of Tooth questioning the defendant was shown to jurors. In the video, Marchain addresses the self-defense allegations, and can be heard admitting to being a regular user of methamphetamine and saying he was high during the interview with Tooth. It is unclear whether he admitted to being high during the killing.
After his arrest, police said Marchain directed detectives to where he hid the knife, which was recovered by detectives. The defendant said the stabbing followed some sort of altercation, although specifics surrounding the nature of the argument were not known.
The 69-year-old victim was 5-foot-3 and weighed 125 pounds, according to Deputy District Attorney Gypsy Yeager. Jail records show Marchain is 5-foot-8 and 200 pounds.
A neighbor testified Monday that he witnessed the two together on the day of Tokarski’s death, but did not see them argue.
Criminal proceedings were previously suspended when the defendant’s attorney raised doubt about his client’s ability to assist in his own defense. Marchain underwent a mental health evaluation, and a judge found Marchain was mentally competent to stand trial.
Marchain, who remains behind bars on $1 million bail, has felony convictions in Riverside County for receiving stolen property and battery on a peace officer.