SANTA ANA, Calif. – An unemployed Navy deserter was convicted and sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for the Valentine's Day shooting-murder of a woman and her live-in boyfriend after posing as a potential car buyer. Pasqual Raul Loera, 38, Redlands, pleaded guilty today, April 18, 2016, to two felony counts of special circumstances murder. The special circumstances include murder during the commission of robbery, murder during the commission of burglary, and multiple murders.
On Feb. 14, 2010, Loera went to the Westminster home of couple Julie Palasco and Dennis Koire under the false pretense of buying an Infiniti sedan that the victims had listed for sale with AutoTrader. The defendant and the victims did not know each other.
After entering the victims' home, the defendant shot and murdered 48-year-old Palasco. Loera then shot and critically injured 49-year-old Koire, stole the Infiniti, and fled the scene.
Loera drove to his home in Redlands and accidently shot himself in the foot with the firearm when it slipped from his waistband and discharged as he got out of his vehicle. Without seeking medical treatment for his foot, the defendant left Redlands and drove to a casino near the Nevada state border.
The defendant attracted the attention of casino security by walking around the parking lot and crying. Security asked Loera to leave. Loera subsequently drove away from the casino in the Infiniti and crashed into a ditch.
Officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) responded to the scene and determined that the vehicle belonged to the couple in Westminster. The Westminster Police Department (WPD), who investigated this case, were contacted to perform a welfare check on Palasco and Koire. Palasco was found dead at the scene and Koire was transported to the hospital in critical condition.
Loera was arrested by LVMPD and later brought back to Orange County to face charges of murder and attempted murder. The defendant was interviewed by WPD detectives and confessed to shooting the two victims.
Kiore suffered a gunshot wound to the head and remained in a coma for 13 months until he died as a direct result of his injuries in March 2011. Loera's attempted murder charge was subsequently upgraded to murder.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Steve McGreevy of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 11ZF0101 / April 18, 2016