June 4 trial date set in Lambert murder case (CA)

INDIO, Calif. – A June 4 trial date was set today for two men accused in the financially motivated killing of a Palm Springs retiree.

Daniel Carlos Garcia and Kaushal Niroula are facing 10 felony charges, including first-degree murder and conspiracy, in the Dec. 5, 2008, stabbing death of 74-year-old Clifford Lambert.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge David B. Downing set the trial date for Garcia and Niroula at a hearing at the court’s Indio Annex. Both Garcia, 29, and Niroula, 30, are acting as their own attorney.

Co-defendants David Replogle and Miguel Bustamante were convicted in January of first-degree murder and eight other felony counts stemming from Lambert’s death and both were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.Another defendant, Craig McCarthy, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in August 2010, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 19. A sixth man, Russell Herbert Manning, pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Palm Springs police Detective Frank Browning testified at an earlier hearing that McCarthy told him the initial plan to kidnap Lambert and steal his identity to clean out his accounts hit a snag when concerns arose that the retiree could re-emerge and contest forged power-of-attorney documents.

The group then killed Lambert during a staged break-in, with Bustamante stabbing him in the back of the neck as McCarthy and Niroula stood by his side, Browning said. The trio are believed to have buried Lambert’s body in the desert. It has not been found.

Garcia was connected to the conspiracy when he was found to be in possession of Lambert’s debit card in December 2008, according to the prosecution. He allegedly was seen at several San Francisco and Palm Springs banks withdrawing varying amounts of money from the victim’s accounts.

The prosecution said Lambert was targeted because he was lonely, liked to meet people over the Internet and had an interest in younger men, making him vulnerable.


June 4 trial date set in Lambert murder case
Daniel Carlos Garcia, Kaushal Niroula face 10 felony charges
Erik Sandoval
April 30, 2012