Juan Pablo Garcia was convicted of possession of a deadly weapon on Nov. 9, 2007, but a street terrorism count and sentencing enhancements tied to gang activities were rejected, sparing the then 26-year-old Santa Anan from more time behind bars. Despite a 1997 conviction for kidnapping, robbery, kidnapping to commit robbery,
carjacking and street terrorism, the judge also freed Garcia pending his sentencing hearing.
The judge and jury were obviously swayed by the testimony of public defender Lori Muir, who had befriended Garcia and testified
during the trial that he was no longer a gang member and had cleaned
up his life.
Nine days after Garcia was freed, he fired one shot into the chest of 17-year-old rival gang member Jose Granillo, who later told friends waiting with him for paramedics, “I'm dying. Tell my mother that I loved her.” He died less than three hours later.
On Tuesday, Garcia, now 30, and his brother Jorge Armando Garcia, 31, and also of Santa Ana, were found guilty of murdering Granillo.
This time, the jury was not swayed by any “cleaned up his life” talk.
The Garcias were also found guilty of street terrorism and sentencing enhancements
for criminal street gang activity and murder committed for a criminal
street gang purpose were found true. Juan Garcia was also tagged with sentencing enhancements for the
personal discharge of a firearm causing death and crime-bail-crime,
denoting that he was out of custody for another crime at the time of the
murder. A sentencing enhancement for vicarious discharge of a firearm by a gang member causing death was
found true for Jorge Garcia.
Both face life in state
prison without the possibility of parole at their June 3 sentencing in Fullerton.
At about 4 p.m. on Nov. 18, 2007, Granillo
was hanging out with friends in the parking area of a Santa Ana
apartment complex. Jorge Garcia, who Granillo did not know, later got in a verbal argument with the 17-year-old during which each mentioned their respective gangs.
Jorge, who later claimed Granillo disrespected him, left the apartment complex, picked up his brother Juan and then returned. That's when Juan approached Granillo, who was still in the parking area, and shot the boy.
The Garcias then fled the area but, obviously, not justice.