A man convicted of the brutal murder of a
San Antonio college student was sentenced this morning to life in prison.
Ernesto Esquivel Garcia, 21, was convicted in August for
the June 2018 murder of Jared Vargas, 20. Vargas had been missing for three
days before his body was found burning inside an apartment.
Assistant District Attorney Brandon Ramsey told the court
Garcia “took Jared Vargas’s life, then took all of (Vargas’s) worldly
possessions after that” and that Garcia set the fire to “in (Garcia’s) words
get rid of the evidence.”
“He took away the ability for the parents of Jared Vargas
to say goodbye to their son,” Ramsey said.
Garcia was sentenced to life in prison by Judge Kevin
O’Connell of the 227th Criminal District Court.
Garcia, who was in the United States illegally, faces
deportation once he is released from prison.
“Our focus - our goal - is to bring justice to the victim, so we review the facts of each case without regard to citizenship,” said
Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales.
While Garcia is first eligible for parole in 30 years, the
Criminal District Attorney’s Office and the Vargas Family will oppose Garcia’s release
by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Also this week, a Bexar County jury in the 399th District Court convicted a man for the murder of two people during what was described as “eight minutes of hell and terror” by Mario Del Prado, Chief of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Felony Division.
Manuel Garcia was found guilty of capital murder for the
February 2015 deaths of Patrick Moore and Samuel White. During the trial, a
witness testified that Garcia took her car, drove around San Antonio’s
East Side, and there used the car to run over both Mr. Moore and Mr. White more than one time. Four others
were also struck and injured by Garcia during the rampage – which Assistant
District Attorney Gretchen Flader argued was clearly intentional.
The jury assessed Garcia a sentence of
life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Finally, a Bexar County Grand Jury indicted a San Antonio
woman for a murder charge. The indictment alleges that on July 14, 2019, Aliza
Marie Cantu intentionally and knowingly caused the death of Marc Anthony
Ramirez by shooting him with a firearm. The case is currently pending in the
186th District Court.