A Pasadena man, Oscar Garcia, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for killing Nicolás Bautista, mistaking him for a thief, and fleeing the country in 2018.
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Houston, Texas (KTRK) – The Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced Saturday that the Pasadena transmission repair shop owner who fled the country in 2018 after shooting a man he mistook for a burglar has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.
The video above is about the Bautista family’s reaction to the arrest of the man accused of killing Nicolas Bautista.
DA Kim Ogg said, “A man who willfully kills an innocent stranger and then does everything in his power to cover up his crime and escape accountability deserves to spend decades in prison for the pain he has caused.”
On Wednesday, 35-year-old Oscar Aristides Garcia was sentenced to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of Nicolas Bautista. Prosecutors requested that Garcia be sentenced to 50 years in prison. Garcia’s defense team argued for 15 years.
According to authorities, Garcia was at his Pasadena transmission shop on October 28, 2018, when he saw the 37-year-old Bautista walking with his girlfriend. The couple was reportedly on their way to a restaurant for Sunday brunch. García mistakenly thought Bautista was a man who he thought was shoplifting gatekeepers.
Authorities said Bautista was never involved in any theft. However, García took a truck he was working on at the store, a shotgun, and tracked down Bautista and his girlfriend to confront him about the thefts.
After discovering the restaurant near Garcia’s store has closed, Bautista and his girlfriend catch an Uber to another restaurant, with Garcia following them.
They took another Uber home after eating, and Garcia kept following him. At their Pasadena home on Weaver Street, García got out of the truck and began arguing with Bautista in Spanish, according to Ogg. Bautista did not speak Spanish, and his girlfriend told García that he was wrong. Records show that when Bautista turned and left to call the police, García shot him in the back, killing him.
Garcia then pointed the gun at Bautista’s girlfriend and pulled the trigger, but she did not fire.
Ogg said Garcia picked up the shell casing before fleeing to another mechanic’s shop and demanding that the truck be stored inside that mechanic’s garage.
He then went back to his own store and destroyed his security camera recording device so that there would be no record of Bautista walking by the store. Investigators said Garcia also broke into the military quarter and destroyed the security camera recording device, which showed him following Bautista.
Garcia then closed shop and left for his native El Salvador, leaving his pregnant wife and three children behind. He sent for them later, and they joined him there for a time.
After more than two years, he returned to the United States and was arrested by American guards.
Assistant District Attorney Ryan Volkmeyer, who brought the case, credited the Pasadena Police Department for never giving up.
“Pasadena worked really hard to track down this guy, and then track him down outside,” Volkmeyer said. “They interviewed a lot of people, did a lot of observation, and kept it up.”
Volkmer also said that hearing Bautista’s friends and family testify about his loss was heartbreaking.
“He was a beloved son, a beloved brother, and a beloved friend,” Volkmeyer said. “He worked hard and everyone remembers him fondly, and they are glad they finally got justice.”
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