Palm Springs, CA

Suspect in a pair of Palm Springs murders being held without bail

The Palm Springs Post
Acting Palm Springs Police Chief Melissa Desmarais speaks Wednesday morning at a news conference announcing murder charges.The Palm Springs Post

Palm Springs police are crediting the community for aiding in the arrest of a suspect in a pair of murders in the city this year that were six months apart.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday morning, Acting Police Chief Melissa Desmarais said neighbors near each crime scene came forward to provide video footage and other evidence that helped them identify 31-year-old Luis Cantor of Palm Springs as the suspect. Cantor is being held without bail in the Southwest Detention Center in Banning. He is charged with two counts of murder, three counts of burglary, and one count of assault on a person causing great bodily injury, all felonies.

Cantor was arrested in the 22000 block of Caliente Drive in Palm Springs on August 25 when police found him unconscious in a car. He allegedly tried to flee, injuring some officers in the process but was captured. He was later found to be in possession of a stolen firearm and had multiple warrants for his arrest, police said.

During the arrest, Desmarais said police found what they deemed “substantial evidence“ linking Cantor to the July killing of 80-year-old Joseph Rajczi in the 1100 block of East Via Colusa. The evidence, along with “multiple similarities” between Rajczi’s death and that of 59-year-old Jennifer Dillon, led investigators to suspect Cantor of both killings. Dillon was discovered dead in her home in the 2800 block of Davis Way in January.

Desmarais said that Cantor has a history of burglaries in the community dating back to 2010. Court records show he has multiple aliases and multiple warrants for his arrest dating back to 2018. Desmarais declined to elaborate on the nature of the similarities or the evidence linking Cantor to Rajczi’s death. She would also not speculate about a possible motive for the murders.

Cantor is scheduled to appear at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on Thursday for an arraignment on the new charges. They include the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a felony and multiple murders. The allegations open Cantor to a possible death sentence if the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office opts to pursue it.

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