Jury pronounces guilty verdict in murder trial of Pete Garcia, Jr.

Jury pronounces guilty verdict in murder trial of Pete Garcia, Jr.
56-year-old Pete Garcia (Source: Levelland & Hockley County News-Press)

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - 56-year-old Pete Garcia, Jr. has been found guilty of the 2016 shooting death of Orestes "West" Garza.

The jury gave their verdict on Monday afternoon.

Garza was shot at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church on Feb. 7, 2016. Investigators said Garza was in company of his girlfriend, Judy Garcia at the time.

Judy had been married to Pete Garcia for 32 years until their divorce became final in October 2015. Judy had been dating Garza since her divorce.

The jury is currently in the punishment phase where they heard another round of opening statements and will hear more testimony before deciding Garcia's punishment.

On Monday, December 11, one of Garza's sisters was called to the stand. She described Garza as "Kind, peaceful, humble generous, loving, respectful."

A witness who worked at a church Garza worked at was also called to the stand Monday, December 11. She said Garcia had come to the church multiple times to talk to the Priest of the church about Garza.

She said Garcia and his son eventually set an appointment to talk with the priest and from her office down the hall she could hear them getting loud a couple of times while talking.

Another witness who worked with Garza at the Cactus Theater testified Monday, December 11, saying there was a night when they hired Lubbock County Sheriffs Department to run security at one of their shows for safety measures surrounding Garza, their performers, and their audience.

One of Garcia's coworkers was called to the stand on Tuesday, Dec. 5. He said he and Garcia had multiple conversations on different occasions about Garcia's wife leaving and divorcing him.

He said Garcia was very emotional about the split and divorce. He also said Garcia told him he knew she was dating someone by the name of West.

That witness said he invited Garcia to a Super Bowl watch party that took place Feb. 7, 2016. The witness said Garcia showed up during halftime and told him "I shot West."

He said Garcia told him he was going to his sister's and was going to turn himself in. That's when the witness contacted police.

Garcia turned himself in to Levelland Police and was booked into the Hockley County Jail. He was then transferred to the Lubbock County Detention Center.

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