Fifty-year-old Dennis Koire was in a coma for the 13 months after he was shot in the head on Feb. 14, 2010. The Westminster man succumbed to his injuries this past March.
In announcing the death penalty will be sought for Pasqual Raul Loera, who is also accused of killing Koire's 48-year-old life partner Julie Palasco, who died instantly that Valentine's Day, the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) office revealed attempted murder charges for Koire's shooting had been bumped up to first-degree murder. That makes Koire Orange County's 54th homicide victim of 2011.
Loera, a 33-year-old Navy deserter and unemployment statistic out of Redlands, was seen by security outside a Primm, Nevada, casino limping, bleeding and crying before he jumped into a black Infiniti and drove away. After a brief chase, the car wound up in a ditch. When Las Vegas police discovered the Infiniti was registered to a Westminster couple, cops in Orange County were asked to check on the pair.
Westminster police officers went to Koire and Palasco's residence in the 5000 block of Duncannon Avenue, they discovered the woman had been shot dead, the man was clinging to life and the two-story home had been ransacked. Koire was then rushed in grave condition to a hospital and remained in a coma for the next 13 months before he died.
The drifter was then arrested and originally charged with felony counts of special circumstances murder and attempted murder with special circumstances including murder during the commission of robbery and burglary. The OCDA announced Tuesday the ultimate penalty will be sought for Loera:
- Andrew Urdiales, Camp Pendleton Serial Killer, and Pasqual Raul Loera, Accused Double-Murderer of Westminster Couple, Both Face the Death Penalty
Police and prosecutors believe Loera had responded to an AutoTrader ad that listed the couple's Infiniti was for sale. Koire and Palasco had hoped to use proceeds from the car sale to help them better ease into retirement.
After shooting the couple and taking their car, Loera is alleged to have driven to his home in Redlands, where he accidentally shot himself in the leg, before heading to Nevada without having sought medical attention. See:
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Loera's MySpace page, which featured many photos of him admiring sports cars at an auto show, listed his occupation as "Crash Test Dummy."