LUBBOCK, TX - The same jury that found Pete Garcia guilty of murder also set his punishment as 35 years in prison. Garcia admitted in court that he shot and killed Orestes “West” Garza outside St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Lubbock. The shooting was in early 2016.
Garcia was upset that Garza was dating Garcia’s ex-wife.
A jury found him guilty on Monday. Then, during the punishment phase on Tuesday, Garcia testified, “I’m really sorry for what I did … Don’t think for one minute I don’t think about West.”
During the punishment phase, prosecutors told the jury that Garcia’s actions were premeditated. The prosecution said there was evidence of stalking and weeks of planning.
While the prosecution disputed the idea of sudden passion, that was exactly what the defense claimed. The defense said an affair between Garcia’s wife and Garza created anger, hurt and humiliation.
So the jury was asked to decide between “cold blooded killer” and a good man who just snapped.
If the jury found “sudden passion” then the maximum penalty would be 20 years. But since the jury did not find “sudden passion” then the maximum penalty could have been 99 years or life.
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