Florida Deaf Inmate's Case to be Reviewed

rockin'robin

Well-Known Member
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WTXL) - A deaf Florida inmate, who many believe was wrongly convicted of murder, is slated to have his case reviewed again.

After serving over 30 years in prison, the Florida Commission on Offender Review is having a "subsequent review" of the case involving Felix Garcia in Tallahassee Wednesday.

Despite an alibi that put him six miles away from the crime, Garcia is serving a life sentence for an August 1981 killing that occurred in Tampa. The killing was the result of a drug robbery gone bad.

Advocates for the deaf say Garcia's defense suffered during his 1981 trial, because he didn't have a court-appointed sign language interpreter. Garcia's brother, who was also convicted for the murder filed an affidavits attesting to Felix's innocence.

The subsequent hearing for Garcia takes place Wednesday morning at 9 am at the Florida Commission on Offender Review in the Southwood complex in Tallahassee.

http://www.wtxl.com/news/florida-deaf-inmate-is-up-for-parole/article_8d1c6484-6f9f-11e4-bc58-df90e96ae873.html
 

whatdidyousay!

Well-Known Member
There a well known case of a deaf man that found guilty for a crime he did not committed . I think it was a movie too . He was eventually found innocent .
 

DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
Only two movies I could find relating to a deaf man thought to be guilty of a murder and later found innocent were-

Suspect

and

Dummy

Neither has any info on if it's based on a true story or not though.

ah! the second one is based on a true story after I googled the lawyer's name.

Lowell Myers

I remember seeing Dummy on tv back in 1979 (or maybe a few years later).
 

rockin'robin

Well-Known Member
Deaf man: Brother framed me; 3rd brother disagrees

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A deaf man serving a life sentence for murder was framed by his brother, supporters of the inmate insist, but in a surprise twist, a third brother showed up to a parole hearing Wednesday and said both his siblings are guilty.

Felix Garcia didn't receive a fair trial in the 1981 Tampa slaying for which both men are imprisoned, his advocates say. Garcia was given a hearing aid, and a courtroom speaker was turned up. But lawyers say he still couldn't understand the proceedings.

"He is totally innocent," lawyer Reggie Garcia, who isn't related to the brothers, said. "Felix Garcia has an alibi before, during and after the murder."

The board decided Wednesday to move up Garcia's potential parole date by one year, to 2025. He will get another hearing in three years. They did not move up the date for brother Frank Garcia, serving a 99-year sentence with a potential 2026 release date. His case will be reheard in seven years.

The third brother, Mike Garcia, and sister Tina Daniels spoke only in the proceeding for Frank Garcia.

"You know your family members — when they're telling the truth and when they're not telling you the truth," Mike Garcia said. "People can bull crap, I understand that. People are con artists, I understand that. I know my brother Frank. I know my brother Felix. I know Francisco Garcia did not pull that trigger."

A commission member asked if that meant Felix participated. "Yes. Yes, they were both there at that time," Mike Garcia answered.

After the hearing, he told reporters that he believed Felix is the person who killed Joseph Tramontana Jr.

"That's what I've heard over the years. I wasn't there," he said. "I know my brothers, and that's it. "

It's a vastly different story than lawyers presented. They said Felix Garcia had two witnesses placing him six miles away from the motel where the murder happened. Frank Garcia; his sister, Tina; and her boyfriend, Ray Stanley participated in the crime and framed Felix, the lawyers said. They say Frank Garcia gave Felix the victim's ring to sell, and the pawn shop slip tied him to the crime.

Neither the sister nor Stanley was charged, and Stanley has since died.

Frank Garcia later admitted Felix wasn't involved in the murder, the lawyers also said.

But prosecutor Mark Ober said the affidavit Frank Garcia signed on behalf of Felix was part of a plot to get his brother out so he could sue the state and then help seek Frank's release.

After the hearing, Pat Bliss — who has fought 18-years on Felix' behalf — approached Garcia's siblings and said she was shocked they didn't speak for Felix, too. "He never asked us," Daniels said.

"He feels like he's been deserted by his family," Bliss said.

http://news.yahoo.com/supporters-man-framed-deaf-brother-murder-case-143259923.html
 

whatdidyousay!

Well-Known Member
Only two movies I could find relating to a deaf man thought to be guilty of a murder and later found innocent were-

Suspect

and

Dummy

Neither has any info on if it's based on a true story or not though.

ah! the second one is based on a true story after I googled the lawyer's name.

Lowell Myers

I remember seeing Dummy on tv back in 1979 (or maybe a few years later).
I thought I saw a movie about this , it was believed he was retarded b/c he could not talk and did not know any ASL . In the movie a new lawyer was with the deaf guy and the lawyer was having trouble fixing a fancy pen he had and the deaf took the pen and fixed it with no trouble and that was when the lawyer realize the guy was NOT retarded . He was in the wrong place at wrong time , and the cops pinned the crime on him . Here was a Black guy that could not talk , was an easy way to close a case. :mad:
 

rockin'robin

Well-Known Member
Deaf Tampa man loses bid for early parole in murder

TALLAHASSEE — Despite his claim of innocence, a deaf Tampa man serving life for his role in a 1981 murder at an East Fowler Avenue motel won’t be eligible for parole for another 11 years.

In a 2-1 decision on Wednesday, the state’s parole board decided to set Felix Garcia’s potential release date at August 2025. The Florida Commission on Offender Review, formerly the Florida Parole Commission, also agreed to reconsider his case in another three years.

The decision followed nearly an hour of emotional and often conflicting testimony from Garcia’s advocates, the victim’s family and Tampa’s chief prosecutor, State Attorney Mark Ober, who had personally tried the case.

And one of Garcia’s brothers later told the board that Garcia, now 53, was in fact involved in the murder. Garcia, convicted in July 1983 on charges of first degree murder and armed robbery, did not attend the hearing.

Felix Garcia and his brother Frank Garcia both are in prison for the shooting death of Joseph Tramontana Jr., killed either for his expensive jewelry or as a result of a drug deal gone bad.

Ober said claims that Garcia didn’t get a fair trial were “disingenuous,” referring to trial transcripts that showed Garcia said he could hear and understand what was going on. Garcia was given a hearing aid and a loudspeaker.

But Garcia’s supporters say he was unfairly convicted because he wasn’t provided a sign-language interpreter and had only a fourth-grade reading comprehension at the time.

He also had an alibi: His then-girlfriend and her mother said he was at their house six miles away from the motel at the time of the murder.

Retired paralegal Pat Bliss, who said she’s been “like a mom to him,” has been working on Garcia’s case since 1996.

“This has been an injustice,” she said.

Garcia told his lawyers he just kept saying “yes” because “if I say no, they’re going to think I’m stupid,” records show.

The defense said Frank Garcia framed his brother by getting him to pawn a ring stolen from the dead man; evidence against him included the signed pawn ticket.

Four of Tramontana’s sisters also appeared before the board.

“You have the facts but what you don’t have is what this has done to us as a family,” one sister, Emily Hobson, told commissioners.

Learning of his son’s murder “was the only time I saw my father cry,” she added. “My mother was never the same … she could never really talk in completed sentences from that moment on.”

Frank Garcia also had a parole hearing immediately after Felix’s, at which their other brother Mike asked commissioners to consider releasing Frank.

When Commissioner Richard Davison asked why he did not also speak on Felix’s behalf, Mike Garcia said he wasn’t asked, explaining that Felix was estranged from the family.


He also said that brother Frank, with whom he still talks, had told him that he and Felix “were both there” in the hotel room during the murder.

That contradicted the alibi and Frank’s own claim in a 2006 evidentiary hearing that Felix wasn’t involved. Frank’s guilt has not been questioned; 13 of his fingerprints were eventually found in the motel room.

Felix’s attorney, Reginald Garcia, who is not related, called that “the cover-up narrative ... Frank knew he had to blame Felix.”

Ober said the two brothers had conspired to lie for each other to get them both out of prison. Commissioners Wednesday decided to let Frank Garcia remain in prison.

In Felix’s case, Davison differed only slightly from fellow commissioners Tena Pate and Melinda Coonrod in his recommendation, suggesting a potential release date one year later in 2026 and reconsideration in five years rather than three.

Garcia is now serving his sentence in Ocala’s Marion Correctional Institution, state records show.

Commissioners explained their job wasn’t to decide on Garcia’s innocence but whether he was ready to rejoin society.

As of now, 2025 represents the earliest Garcia could be paroled, though that does not guarantee he’ll be out by then.

Attorney Reginald Garcia also is trying to get the case reviewed by Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet, which sits as the Board of Executive Clemency.

http://tbo.com/news/politics/deaf-tampa-man-loses-bid-for-early-parole-in-murder-20141119/
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
The whole Garcia family is a mess. It's going to be hard to sort out the truth in this case.

I'm glad that the state is at least reviewing the case.
 
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