Oscar Aristides Garcia pleaded guilty to murder in October. Last week, a judge sentenced him to 35 years in prison.
HOUSTON. After two years on the run in Central America, the 35-year-old owner of a Houston repair shop was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Oscar Aristides Garcia pleaded guilty to murder in October. He shot a man who he believed was stealing from his store. Prosecutors asked for a 50-year sentence for Garcia, while his defense demanded 15 years.
On October 28, 2018, Garcia saw 37-year-old Nicolas Bautista and his girlfriend walking past his store. The couple were going to have a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant. Garcia misidentified Bautista as the man he thought was stealing the tailgates of the trucks in his shop.
Garcia grabbed a shotgun and jumped into the truck he was working on at the shop. He followed the couple to the restaurant, which was closed. Batista and his girlfriend got into an Uber and went to another restaurant, with Garcia unknowingly stalking them. After finishing their meal, they took another Uber to their home on Wafer Street. It was then that Garcia decided to confront Bautista.
Garcia got out of the truck and started arguing with Bautista in Spanish. But Batista didn’t speak Spanish, and his girlfriend told Garcia that he was wrong. As Batista turned to leave, Garcia shot him in the back. He then turned and pointed the gun at the Bautista girl and pulled the trigger, but the gun didn’t fire.
Covering your tracks
He picked up the cartridge case and left the scene. He drove to another store and demanded that the truck be left in the mechanic’s garage. He then returned to his store and destroyed the security camera recording device so that there would be no evidence left of Batista passing by the store. He also broke into a nearby restaurant and destroyed his security camera recording device, as the video showed him following the couple.
Garcia then closed his shop and left for El Salvador. He left behind a pregnant wife and three children. After more than two years, he returned to the United States and was arrested by US marshals.
“A man who deliberately kills an innocent stranger and then goes to great lengths to cover up his crime and avoid responsibility deserves to spend decades in prison for the pain he caused,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement.
Prosecutors said the ruthlessness of the Pasadena Police Department allowed the case to be solved.
“The Pasadena police were very diligent in tracking down this guy and then tracking him down overseas,” Assistant District Attorney Ryan Volkmer said. “They interviewed a lot of people, they did a lot of surveillance, and they just kept going.”
Bautista’s family and friends testified during the trial. They said that losing him was devastating.
“He was a beloved son, a beloved brother and a beloved boyfriend,” Volkmer said. “He worked hard and is remembered very fondly and they are happy that they finally got justice.”