A Desert Hot Springs man was convicted Thursday of attempted murder and other felony charges for shooting his ex-girlfriend through a window of her Palm Springs apartment while she slept.
A Riverside jury deliberated two days before finding Sergio Juan Marques, 41, guilty of one count each of attempted murder, spousal abuse, shooting at a dwelling and assault on a person causing great bodily injury, along with several sentence-enhancing allegations.
Marques remains held at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning and faces up to 32 years to life in state prison at his sentencing hearing scheduled for Aug. 27 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
Marques shot and wounded Jovanna Tapia in her leg at the Palos Verdes Villas apartment complex at the 300 block of E. Stevens Road in June 2019.
Tapia took the stand for the prosecution on Monday, where she recounted waking up in the early morning hours of June 8, 2019, to a sensation of pain emanating from her lower body.
“I just remember sitting up and feeling pain,” she said. “I felt blood gushing out of my leg.”
Tapia testified she spent four days in the hospital after the bullet pierced an artery and entered her bladder.
According to Tapia, she dated Marques for about three months before breaking up with him. She said he had become overly possessive and jealous, and in one instance, slapped her.
“I asked him to leave one night and from that moment, everything changed,” she said during a preliminary hearing last September.
Tapia said that after the break-up, Marques began stalking her, and once texted her a photo of a handgun.
She said that on the day of the shooting, she had been sleeping when she awoke about 2 a.m. to pain in her thigh and saw her first-floor bedroom sliding glass window shattered. She yelled for her young daughter, who was sleeping in the next room, to call 911.
Police arrived shortly afterward and found the victim wounded, but no suspects at the scene, according to Palm Springs Police Department Detective Edman Escallada.
Police found .45-caliber rounds at the scene, Escallada said. A handgun of the same caliber was later located in a vehicle belonging to Marques, the detective testified.
They also used the defendant’s cell phone number to place him near Tapia’s apartment at the time of the shooting, according to Deputy District Attorney Michael Tripp.
Tapia testified she did not see who shot her, but told police that Marques was the probable shooter based on his stalking behavior.
Marques’ roommate told police that the defendant had asked her if she “could hire or find somebody to shoot Ms. Tapia,” Escallada testified.
According to the detective, Marques told his roommate repeatedly that he wanted somebody to shoot his ex-girlfriend in order to scare her into leaving him alone. He claimed she was the one who was bothering him, Escallada said.
Marques was arrested Jan. 24, 2020, at a home in Desert Hot Springs.
He had no prior documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.
Source: NBC Los Angeles