Aug 25, 2015

Prosecutor says he won’t seek death penalty in at least one Badger Basin murder case

If he gets a conviction, Park County Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Skoric says he’ll seek a sentence of life in prison — and not the death penalty — for a woman charged with participating in a plot to murder her boyfriend in 2014.

On Friday, Skoric filed a one-sentence notice in Sandra Garcia’s case stating “that the state does not intend to seek the death penalty for this particular defendant.”

Garcia, 27, is one of three people charged in connection with the murder and subsequent decapitation and mutilation of Juan Antonio Guerra-Torres in January 2014.

Sandra Garcia
Sandra Garcia is alleged to have asked her brother, 29-year-old Pedro Garcia Jr., to find someone to kill Guerra-Torres, her longtime boyfriend. Pedro Garcia Jr. allegedly recruited/hired John L. Marquez, 51, to commit the murder.

On Monday, Skoric declined to elaborate on his decision in Sandra Garcia’s case and declined to say whether he’s made a decision about what punishment he’ll pursue for her two co-defendants.

The Garcia siblings are each charged with felony counts of aiding and abetting first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Marquez is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. He’s alleged to have fatally shot and then dismembered Guerra-Torres. Guerra-Torres' mutilated body was found along a remote road in Badger Basin a few days later.

The allegations and charges are largely based on an account of the crime that Pedro Garcia gave to law enforcement this past March; Sandra Garcia and John Marquez's preliminary defenses have included questioning Pedro Garcia’s credibility.

All three defendants have pleaded not guilty and are presumed to be innocent.

At the request of Sandra Garcia’s defense team, District Court Judge Steven Cranfill had effectively given Skoric a Friday deadline to decide whether he was going to pursue the death penalty in that case.

The defense attorneys representing Pedro Garcia and Marquez haven’t made that request, so Skoric has no current deadline in those cases.

The death penalty is extremely rare in Wyoming; the state has executed one person since 1965.


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