Ryan Garcia’s parole revoked after serving 7-year sentence for killing his grandmother

See the summary of the case here

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — According to notice of a probation violation, Ryan Garcia was paroled on May 18, 2017 and released from prison after serving his seven-year sentence. After a month at a facility called Hoffman Hall, he moved in with his mother, after being “discharged” from the program, because he could not afford the rent.

Las Vegas, NM. Photo by Greg Gjerdingen/Flickr

On July 7, 2017, a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy arrested Garcia after a woman reported him behind her house and allegedly threatening the woman. He was arrested for concealing his identity and assault. The deputies used one of his tattoos and his ankle monitor to identify him.

Garcia also allegedly failed to contact the drug test line every weekday after his arrest. However, between his release and arrest, he only called the line three times.

On Aug. 15, 2017, prosecutor Thomas Clayton filed a motion to revoke Garcia’s probation and on Sept. 15, 2017, he filed another motion to withdraw it and wrote that Garcia’s parole was revoked.

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Kevin Sanchez: Mickey Owings — 3-29-2010 (Police shooting)

Summary

On March 29, 2010, Albuquerque Police Det. Kevin Sanchez fatally shot Mickey Owings, 26, as he fled from a Wal-Mart parking lot and after police tried to surround his car. According to police accounts, Owings drove into unoccupied police cars before Sanchez shot him.

The case was named in the federal Department of Justice’s civil rights investigation into the Albuquerque Police Department’s use of force. In the report, federal investigators wrote that Sanchez was driving into unoccupied vehicles in his bid to get away and damage to property did not justify killing him.

Owings’ family sued the city after the report came out and in 2018, the case settled for $375,000, according to the Albuquerque Journal. A state district court judge initially dismissed the lawsuit, filed for a loss of consortium, but that decision was reversed by the Appeals Court and reaffirmed by the New Mexico Supreme Court.

According to the report

From the Department of Justice report:

In March 2010, a plainclothes detective shot and killed Mickey Owings after Owings’ car was boxed in by an unmarked APD vehicle in a commercial parking lot. The encounter began because officers had received information that a stolen car was located in the parking lot. Several officers positioned unmarked cars in the parking lot around the suspected stolen car. Owings then drove a different car into the parking lot and parked directly next to the stolen car. A passenger got out of Owings’ car and started to get in the stolen car, and officers drove one unmarked car directly behind Owings while the plainclothes detective approached Owings’ car on foot. Owings backed his car into the unmarked police car and another civilian’s car, and as he did so, the detective drew his gun, pointed it at Owings, and ran closer to Owings’ car. Owings then drove straight forward into two parked cars. As he did so, the detective shot Owings. Owings continued driving forward and actually pushed the two empty, parked cars in front of him out of the way. Owings then drove out of the parking lot but soon seems to have lost consciousness on a nearby road. His car slowed to a stop, and when officers got to him, he had died. Owings was not armed.

The department’s use of force policy permits officers to fire at the driver of a moving vehicle only when the car itself poses a threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others. (As noted below, the better policy, followed by many departments, is to prohibit officers from firing their weapons at cars altogether.) The use of force policy limits the circumstances in which officers may shoot at drivers because of the substantial risks that are involved: the officer may miss and hit an innocent civilian or fellow officer, or the driver may become incapacitated, leaving the moving car completely out of control. Owings did not pose a threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or anyone else; he was driving straight into unoccupied, parked cars when he was shot. This damage to property, as serious as it was, did not justify taking Owings’ life. The detective who shot Owings could very easily have missed and hit one of the innocent civilians walking through the parking lot; moreover, after Owings was shot, the probability that he would injure someone with his car increased dramatically. Brosseau v.Haugen, 543 U.S. 194, 199-201 (2004) (collecting federal appellate cases on police shootings at moving cars and acknowledging that such shootings can be unreasonable); Vaughan v. Cox, 343 F.3d 1323, 1333 (11th Cir. 2003) (“[A] reasonable officer would have known that firing into the cabin of a pickup truck, traveling at approximately 80 miles per hour on Interstate 85 in the morning, would transform the risk of an accident on the highway into a virtual certainty.”). But see Scott, 550 U.S. at 382-84 (2007) (noting that a car can itself be a deadly weapon that can justify the use of deadly force).

False police narrative

Even though Owings was unarmed, and he tried to push through to unoccupied vehicles, that did not stop the Albuquerque Police Department from painting their actions as justified at the outset.

The police narrative is captured by an Albuquerque Journal story from March 30, 2010, as noted in one of the two online headlines:

“Armed Robbery Suspect Fatally Shot by Albuquerque Police”

The unbylined story has a second headline, “ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Shooting occurred as man fled in a vehicle from a Walmart parking lot on city’s West Side.”

The lede, or first sentence, sums up the false narrative:

“Albuquerque police fatally shot an armed robbery suspect in the parking lot of a busy Walmart on Monday after the suspect rammed police vehicles and shoppers’ cars in an effort to get away, authorities said.”

The police chief at the time, Ray Schultz, said Owings actions were “very violent.” He made no mention that the police cars he was ramming into were totally unoccupied, a lie by omission.

The Department of Justice report states that the police department’s policy at the time was that officers could only shoot at cars if “when the car itself poses a threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”

NM Political Report posted the surveillance footage from the killing. See below:

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Ryan Garcia: Margaret Garcia — 2-16-2010

  • Suspect: Ryan Garcia
  • Victim: Margaret Garcia, grandmother
  • Non-fatal victim: Ralph Garcia, father
  • Non-fatal victim: Robert Garcia, uncle
  • Charges: Second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon pleaded down to voluntary manslaughter and one count of aggravated battery
  • Status: Sentenced; guilty plea to charges of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery
  • Sentence: 7 years (6-9 range in plea deal)
  • Date of incident: Feb. 16, 2010
  • Agency: Las Vegas Police Department
  • Location: 1100 block of Columbia Street, Las Vegas
  • Magistrate case number: M-48-FR-201000068
  • District case number: D-412-CR-2011-225
  • Relationship: Grandmother
  • District (sentencing/plea) judge: Abigail Aragon

 

Summary

Seemingly in a fit of rage over not being allowed to open a package left by the mailman but intended for the neighbors on Feb. 16, 2010, in Las Vegas, N.M., Ryan Garcia beat his grandmother, uncle and father with a metal pipe and threw his grandmother out of the house, onto concrete.

While she was on the ground, he punched and kicked her and then attacked his father with a glass bowl followed by a metal pipe.

His grandmother died shortly after being transported to the hospital.

On March 20, 2012, he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery of a household member, with a minimum proscribed sentence of six years and a maximum of nine.

On July 9, 2012, he was sentenced to seven years in prison.

In 2017, a prosecutor moved to have Garcia’s probation revoked and then withdrew it after his parole was revoked.

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The incident

On Feb. 16, 2010, officers responded to a domestic disturbance in the 1100 block of Columbia Street in Las Vegas, New Mexico. When they arrived, they found two people on the ground in front of the house. One, grandmother Margaret Garcia, was lying in the yard while the other, uncle Robert Garcia, was lying on the porch. Both appeared to be bloodied, bruised and swollen, Las Vegas Police Department Detective Kenneth Jenkins wrote in a statement of probable cause for Ryan Garcia’s arrest.

Las Vegas, NM. Photo by Greg Gjerdingen/Flickr

Father Ralph Garcia was outside in the yard, holding a large pipe and handcuffed. Shortly thereafter, Ryan Garcia walked out of the house and he, too, was handcuffed.

“While at the scene, through brief interviews of victims and witnesses, it was discovered that Ryan was the aggressor in the disturbance,” Jenkins wrote. “It was found that Ryan was the person to inflict injury to Mr. Robert Garcia, Margaret Garcia and Ralph Garcia. Through these interviews it was discovered that Ryan was upset because he was not allowed to open a package left at the home by the mailman for the neighbors.”

Ryan Garcia filled with rage and started to punch his uncle, Robert Garcia, in the face.

“Ryan then turned to his grandmother Margaret and began punching her in the face,” Jenkins wrote. “Ryan then grabs his grandmother and throws her out the front doors. Ms. Margaret Garcia is said to fallen off of the porch head first, onto the cement.”

Ryan Garcia then grabbed his uncle and dragged him outside to the porch and started kicking and punching him.

“Ryan then turned to his grandmother Margaret and began punching and kicking her as she law on the ground,” Jenkins wrote. “At this time, Ryan’s father a Mr. Ralph Garcia arrives at the home from going to the store. It is said Ryan throws a glass bowl at him striking him in the face.”

Ryan Garcia then grabbed the metal pipe and started hitting his father with it, but his father fought back and the pair began to struggle for the makeshift weapon.

“During a struggle, Mr. Ralph Garcia is able to take the pipe away from Ryan,” Jenkins wrote. “As Officers arrived, subjects were detained and victims treated.”

Robert and Margaret Garcia were transported to the Alta Vista Regional Hospital, but Margaret Garcia died three days later at 7:53 a.m., Feb. 19.

He was initially charged with second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery on a household member with a deadly weapon causing great bodily harm.

In December 2010, San Miguel District Attorney Richard Flores told the Las Vegas Optic that Garcia was not competent to stand trial and was being housed in a state hospital.

Below is the affidavit for an arrest warrant written by Jenkins:

Ryan Garcia - Affidavit for Arrest Warrant

Autopsy report

In a seemingly randomly redacted autopsy report produced by the Office of the Medical Investigator, Margaret Garcia had heart disease and lung disease that “left her with little psysiologic reserve which which to survive her injuries,” Pathologist Michelle Barry and Fellow in Forensic Pathology Christopher Lochmuller wrote.

Bind over

On July 27, 2011, District Court Judge Abigail Aragon signed a stipulated order finding Garcia competent to stand trial, according to the Magistrate Court case.

On Oct. 27, 2011, after waiving his right to have his case presented for a preliminary hearing or to a grand jury, he was bound over to District Court on a criminal information charging second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery on a household member with a deadly weapon causing great bodily harm.

 

The plea

On March 20, 2012, Ryan Garcia pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery against a household member.

“The range of the sentence shall be a minimum of six (6) years and a maximum of nine (9) years in the court’s discretion, including whether the sentences shall run concurrent or consecutive to each other,” the plea agreement states.

Aragon, who presided over the case in District Court, signed off on the deal. The prosecutor’s signature is illegible.

The sentence

Portrait of District Judge Abigail Aragon
District Judge Abigail Aragon

On July 9, 2012, Aragon sentenced Ryan Garcia to seven years in prison, two years less than the maximum nine years she could have given him under the plea agreement.

She also found both of his crimes were serious violent offenses, meaning he has to serve 85 percent of his seven year sentence, just under six years.

Ryan Garcia received credit for time he had already served in jail, 848 days (2.32 years).

According to the For The Record notes kept during the sentencing hearing, it lasted from 1:42 p.m. until 2:06 p.m.

A woman only identified in the notes as “Ms. Garcia” told the judge that Ryan Garcia was her nephew and that he was a “very troubled young man” and that his life had not been easy.

“He needs help,” she said, according to the notes.

The judge described his pre-sentence evaluation as “very interesting.”

Parole revoked after release

According to notice of a probation violation, Ryan Garcia was paroled on May 18, 2017 and released from prison after serving his seven-year sentence. After a month at a facility called Hoffman Hall, he moved in with his mother, after being “discharged” from the program, because he could not afford the rent.

On July 7, 2017, a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy arrested Garcia after a woman reported him behind her house and allegedly threatening the woman. He was arrested for concealing his identity and assault. The deputies used one of his tattoos and his ankle monitor to identify him.

Garcia also allegedly failed to contact the drug test line every weekday after his arrest. However, between his release and arrest, he only called the line three times.

On Aug. 15, 2017, prosecutor Thomas Clayton filed a motion to revoke Garcia’s probation and on Sept. 15, 2017, he filed another motion to withdraw it and wrote that Garcia’s parole was revoked.

See all of the documents on Google Drive or Document Cloud