Murder defendant accepts plea bargain in exchange for testimony
Jose Miramontes Garcia, the 25-year-old charged in the May 18 death of Omar Celaya Enriquez, has signed a plea agreement that will spare him a potential murder conviction.
Garcia's trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday, but he opted to plead guilty to the charge of kidnapping, a class 2 felony, in a plea bargain.
One of the requirements of Garcia's plea agreement is that he testify truthfully in the trial of Reymundo Rivera Lazo, 24, who along with Garcia was charged with first-degree murder in the 24-year-old Enriquez's death.
The plea bargain was accepted by Yuma County Superior Court Judge Tom Cole, who scheduled March 30 as the date for Garcia's sentencing.
According to state law, class 2 felony convictions carry a prison term of five years for first-time offenses. Prior felony convictions can result in more time being added.
The trial of Lazo, who is also facing a kidnapping charge, is scheduled for March 23.
Earlier this month, another defendant in the case, Carlos Joaquin Sanchez, 27, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted kidnapping in a plea bargain, and agreed to testify truthfully in the trials of Lazo and Garcia.
Enriquez was forced into the trunk of Sanchez's car at gunpoint, and transported from 876 Date Ave., No. 17, to the Paradise Cove area, Michael Perry, the prosecutor, said at an earlier hearing.
Once they reached the Paradise Cove area of the Colorado River, Garcia and Lazo took Enriquez into the brush, where he was shot, according to Perry.
Before Enriquez was put into Sanchez's car, he was bound and beaten at the Date Avenue home, Perry said. The cause of death listed in the medical examiner's report was gunshot wounds. Yuma County sheriff's deputies reported Enriquez was shot at least five times.
Sanchez and Garcia were arrested during a Yuma police investigation of a fraudulent check case. Deputies said jewelry allegedly belonging to Enriquez was found in Garcia's possession.
Motive for the killing is believed to have had something to do with the fraudulent check scheme, deputies reported.
Sanchez is being held in jail in lieu of a $1 million bond. Lazo is being held without bond.