An El Paso County jury began deliberating Thursday morning in the case of former local boxer Joel Garcia, who is on trial for three counts of intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle. Jurors’ deliberations on Garcia’s fate began at 11:15 a.m. following closing arguments that were made in front of a packed courtroom that was at capacity.
The defense never denied that Garcia was driving recklessly when he hit and killed three people on Christmas Eve five years ago. But they maintained the charge of intoxication manslaughter had not been proven, citing several witnesses who made no claim Garcia was drunk including some firefighters and police officers, as well as some medics.
The defense also pointed out that several nurses were not called by the prosecution to testify, and emphasized that field sobriety tests showed no signs of intoxication. Even calling the trial a “sham” at one point, a defense attorney said witness and police testimony didn’t match and indicated the state had selectively picked who to call to the witness stand.
Prosecutors however focused on key pieces of physical evidence including the black box of the car Garcia was driving, which showed his car was traveling at a speed of over 100 miles per hour just a fw seconds before the crash and the brake wasn’t applied at all until just one second before impact.
The prosecution also focused on phone calls Garcia made while in prison to friends and family, telling them that the bar shouldn’t have let him leave because he was too drunk and admitting that he blacked out while driving.
It’s possible a verdict could come later Thursday afternoon.