A former El Paso boxer charged in the killings of three people while driving drunk and speeding on Christmas Eve in 2014 was convicted by a jury Thursday night.
Jurors deliberated about eight hours before returning the guilty verdict against Joel Garcia on three counts of intoxication manslaughter by vehicle.
Prosecutors said Garcia’s car was traveling at a speed of nearly 100 miles an hour when it ran a red light at the intersection of Joe Battle and Vista Del Sol in east El Paso and struck another car.
Brothers Joshua and Isaiah Deal, along with Shannon Del Rio, were inside the vehicle that was hit and all three died as a result of the fiery crash.
The prosecution put on the stand a variety of witnesses from medical technicians to bar waitresses — and even a friend and passenger in Garcia’s car — who all testified he was drunk on the night of the crash.
Prosecutors were barred by an appeals court from using Garcia’s blood test results because officers failed to get a search warrant. As a result, Garcia’s defense tried to cast doubt on whether he was intoxicated and argued the accident was simply a tragic mistake — it called the prosecution of Garcia a “sham.”
Court will reconvene Friday morning for the sentencing phase of Garcia’s trial. He faces the possibility of up to 20 years in prison on each of the three counts.