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Murder defendant Tony Garcia comatose as $75M claim levied

A double homicide defendant discovered unconscious slightly over three weeks in the past after apparently being assaulted by one other inmate stays in a comatose state with a $75 million claim pending over his situation.

Tony Garcia, 69, by no means regained consciousness after the April 11 incident on the Todd Road Jail outdoors Santa Paula, and as of Thursday he was in essential however secure situation, Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Dean Worthy mentioned.

Garcia has allegedly been assaulted repeatedly on the jail since he was booked on Feb. 7 of final yr on suspicion of the cold-case murders of two young women in 1981, based on court docket information. The incidents all seem to have stemmed from conflicts with different inmates.

Garcia, who was jailed with out bail, has pleaded not responsible.

The first incident seems comparatively minor. But he was hospitalized twice after incidents on the jail final yr, based on medical information filed in assist of an unsuccessful effort to get him launched from jail in March. Then in April, he was rendered unconscious after one other alleged assault.

Attorney information claims towards Ventura County

Defense legal professional Brandon Sua says jail officers are answerable for his consumer’s accidents as a result of they didn’t segregate him adequately from different inmates. Due to the character of the prison allegations towards him, Garcia represents a “unique” safety threat, Sua mentioned in authorized claims filed towards the Ventura County authorities.

Sua has filed two claims on Garcia’s behalf towards the native authorities for greater than $75 million, usually a preliminary step earlier than submitting a lawsuit. The preliminary and much smaller claim for roughly $204,000 was filed in March after three incidents in 2023. It is particularly tied to an incident in mid-November when Garcia was hospitalized for main accidents. County threat administration officers returned that claim with out motion, saying Garcia missed the deadline.

But in a second claim filed in late April, Sua asks for $75 million over the fourth and most up-to-date incident tied to Garcia’s comatose state. The demand remains to be underneath assessment by county officers.

Garcia assaulted repeatedly at jail, court docket docs allege

Garcia was segregated from different inmates on the jail as of March, based on a prosecution doc. But on the morning of April 11, deputies reportedly discovered him unconscious and non-responsive within the day room space of his housing unit. They rendered medical support earlier than he was transported to Ventura County Medical Center, based on an announcement issued by the Sheriff’s Office.

He had been speaking together with his spouse in a visitation space of the jail and was on the way in which again to his cell when he was attacked, Sua mentioned. Garcia was shackled at his fingers and ft and guarded by a minimum of one correctional officer when he was assaulted by a minimum of one different inmate, based on the claim over the most recent incident.

He sustained a traumatic mind harm and a number of accidents to the face and cranium, the claim says.

He was hospitalized at VCMC till April 30, when he was transferred to a sophisticated long-term care facility, Worthy mentioned. Sua initially reported that his consumer was on life assist however Worthy mentioned Thursday that Garcia was respiratory on his personal.

Garcia accused in cold-case murders

Garcia is accused of killing 20-year-old Camarillo resident Rachel Zendejas and 21-year-old Oxnard resident Lisa Gondek. His trial in Ventura County Superior Court had not but began on the time he was found unconscious, however the pre-trial course of was underway.

Two months in the past, his authorized counsel requested the courts to launch him from jail with an digital monitor or to permit him to submit bail because of the menace to his security. If denied bail, Garcia will “likely meet his demise long before this case ever makes it to a trial,” legal professional Catherine Guzman mentioned in a authorized movement.

Prosecutor Richard Simon, although, argued there was a considerable chance that Garcia would attempt to kill one other younger girl or flee if bail had been granted. Simon mentioned he understood that Garcia was not at risk due to safeguards taken on the jail to segregate him from different inmates.

Superior Court Judge Nancy Ayers denied Garcia’s request for launch from jail.

Worthy declined to touch upon the safeguards the jail had taken, citing pending litigation.

Garcia is now being monitored electronically on the long-term care facility the place he is staying, Worthy mentioned.

The 4 incidents look like of various however escalating natures. In the primary one, Garcia allegedly fell after being pushed towards the door to his cell by an unidentified inmate, however was apparently not significantly injured. In the second, he was minimize within the neck and face by an inmate who has subsequently been charged with tried homicide. He sustained quite a few fractures and an intracranial hemorrhage within the third incident, however prosecutors determined to not press fees towards the opposite inmate.

It’s not clear precisely why that call was made, however court docket papers counsel that the opposite inmate claimed self-defense throughout a struggle with Garcia.

No one has been arrested in reference to the most recent assault on Garcia and the matter remains to be underneath investigation, Worthy mentioned.

Kathleen Wilson covers courts and native authorities points for the Ventura County Star. Reach her at [email protected] or 805-437-0271.

This article initially appeared on Ventura County Star: Comatose murder defendant Tony Garcia moved to long-term care

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