Desert Hot Springs man sentenced to 32 years in prison for shooting his sleeping ex-girlfriend
A Desert Hot Springs man was sentenced today to 32 years in life for shooting his ex-girlfriend through a window in his Palm Springs apartment while she was sleeping.
Sergio Juan Marques, 41, was convicted on June 24 on one count of attempted murder, domestic violence, shooting in a home and assaulting a person causing serious bodily harm, as well that several allegations of aggravation of sentence.
Authorities said Marques shot Jovanna Tapia in the leg while sleeping in the Palos Verdes Villas apartment complex at 392 E. Stevens Road in June 2019. Tapia testified at the trial, claiming that she was ‘woke up early in the morning 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 rush from my leg.”
Tapia said she spent four days in the hospital. She said 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 too possessive and jealous, and in one case, slapped her.
"I asked him to leave one night and from that moment, everything changed," she said during a preliminary hearing in September 2020.
Tapia said that after the break-up, Marques began stalking her, and once texted her a photo of a handgun. She said when she woke up after being shot, she 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, Escallada said. A handgun of the same caliber was later located in a vehicle belonging to Marques, the detective testified.
Investigators 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 someone to shoot Ms. Tapia,” Escallada said.
According to the detective, Marques repeatedly told his roommate that he wanted someone to shoot his ex-girlfriend in order to scare him and leave him alone. He claimed it was her who bothered him, Escallada said.
Marques was arrested on January 24, 2020 at a house in Desert Hot Springs. He had no previous documented felony convictions in Riverside County.