Man nets 37 1/2 years for rape of child
After a two-day trial, on July 24, a 12-person jury found Juan Carlos Garcia, 39, of Madras, guilty of the repeated rape of a young girl.
According to prosecutor Sheryl Blackman, chief deputy district attorney for Jefferson County, the female victim reported the sexual assaults when she turned 18.
"The first time it happened was when she was 5 or 6," said Blackman, noting that it continued from about 1999 to 2009.
Garcia was found guilty of three counts of first-degree rape, Class A felonies, two counts of second-degree rape and one of attempting to commit first-degree sodomy, Class B felonies, and two counts of third-degree rape, Class C felonies. Each of the rape charges was for a different year.
"She disclosed conduct that was more frequent than that, but because it was difficult to prove that many occurrences, the grand jury indicted on one count per year of her life," said District Attorney Steve Leriche.
Circuit Court Judge Annette Hillman sentenced Garcia to a total of 37 years and six months in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections, and 20 years of post-prison supervision.
Although Blackman had asked for a 70-year prison term, she and Leriche were satisfied with the outcome, which treated most of the crimes with consecutive sentences.
"We're pleased that the jury recognized the strong credibility of the victim," said Leriche. "We believe the lengthy sentence is entirely justified given the multiple rapes of a child and the other conduct he engaged in that caused pain to many people in the past."
Ten years ago, on Aug. 10, 2002, Garcia lost control of the sport utility vehicle he was driving and went over a 100-foot embankment into Lake Billy Chinook. Two of the five children in the vehicle -- his 5-year-old niece and a 12-year-old adopted son -- drowned.
Garcia pleaded no contest to two counts of criminally negligent homicide, three counts of recklessly endangering another person, and driving under the influence of intoxicants. On May 12, 2004, he was sentenced to 10 months in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility.
"He's a multiple child rapist who has previously killed two other children because of his actions, who has also been convicted of a domestic violence assault on the mother of his child in 2010," said Leriche.
The jury deliberated two hours before returning the guilty verdicts.