DA: Man sentenced to 35 years in prison ahead of trial for wife’s murder

HOUSTON (KIAH) — A man was sentenced late Thursday to 35 years in prison for strangling his wife in 2020, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said.

Arnold S. Garcia, 32, pleaded guilty in exchange for a 35-year prison sentence the day before a jury was due to be chosen in the September 20, 2020, murder trial of Elizabeth Hernandez.

“She was a wife and mother who was very much loved by friends and family and who was killed trying to end an abusive relationship,” Ogg said. “It’s far too common to see domestic violence escalate into murder, especially when the victim tries to escape.”

Early in the morning, Garcia called 911 and reported that he had killed his wife. When precinct 4 deputies arrived at the couple’s apartment in the 14600 block of Philippine Street, they found Garcia with blood on her face from a bloodied nose, scratches on her neck, a carpet burn on her elbow, and blood on her hands.

The summoned investigators of the prosecutor’s office noted that the apartment was in disarray. Garcia said he shot his wife three hours earlier in self-defense, prosecutors said.

Before calling the authorities, Garcia called his parents in the middle of the night to come and pick up the children. When they arrived, he sent the children away and refused to let the parents in.

Friends and family later told investigators that Hernandez, a 30-year-old mother who had two children with Garcia and three more from a previous relationship, tried to leave her husband because he was abusive.

“Friends and family, including her children, were ready to testify against Garcia because of everything he had done,” said Assistant District Attorney Anthony Osso, who led the case. “She was a kind and caring mother who loved her children and whose children loved her. Her death was an incredible tragedy.”

Garcia was arrested in 2009 for stabbing an ex-girlfriend in the leg with a key. In this case, he pleaded guilty to postponing the trial.

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