Sibling homicide suspects plead not guilty
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Sep 28, 2012 | 5965 views | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
STOCKTON — A brother and sister charged with the alleged fatal stabbing of 22-year-old Phillip Gregory Sanchez pleaded not guilty at their arraignment hearing Friday, Sept. 28, in San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton.

Attorney Preciliano Martinez, who was hired to represent 21-year-old Samantha Garcia by her family, entered a not guilty plea on her behalf and noted that her client refused to waive time for her preliminary hearing.

Since the defendant refused to waive her right to a speedy trial, Judge Franklin Stephenson must hold the hearing within 10 working days.

Stephenson set Samantha Garcia’s preliminary hearing for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 12 in Department 35 of the Stockton court.

Attorney Robert Forkner, representing co-defendant Victor Garcia, 29, told the court he had not been retained by Garcia’s family. However, Forkner had agreed to make a special appearance on Garcia’s behalf.

He asked Stephenson for put off the preliminary hearing, but the request was denied.

Forkner argued that Garcia had the right to choose his counsel, noting that it costs a great deal of money for a family to hire two lawyers. But Stephenson declined to continue the arraignment, as he said he had already put off the hearing once.

The judge then appointed public defender Eric Taylor to represent Victor Garcia.

Taylor asked Stephenson for time to make a phone call before accepting the case. Taylor returned to the court room a moment later and told the judge that the public defender’s office would take the case for the time being.

The judge entered a not guilty plea on Victor Garcia’s behalf and told him he could still hire his own attorney.

Martinez then asked the judge for a hearing to address Samantha Garcia’s $2 million bail. The judge set the bail hearing for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 3 and decided to have a pre-preliminary hearing for the same time.

After the hearing, Taylor said he wouldn’t represent Victor Garcia at the preliminary hearing, though the public defender would provide an attorney. He said if the office does end up keeping the case, a public defender would likely ask the judge to delay the proceedings.

The siblings are accused of killing the 22-year-old Sanchez, who was found bleeding from multiple stab wounds to his upper torso at 12:17 a.m. Sept. 19 on the 200 block of West Whittier Avenue.

Sanchez died about an hour later at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital.

Both defendants hail from Modesto, where they were arrested the day of the alleged killing.

The charges against Victor Garcia are premeditated murder, personal use of a non-firearm weapon, street terrorism, having a prior conviction and having a prior prison term.

Samantha Garcia is charged with premeditated murder and being an accessory after the fact.

Attending Friday’s hearing were 10 members of Sanchez family and friends, some wearing black T-shirts with Sanchez’s photo and epitaphs such as “Rest In Peace” and “In Loving Memory.”

Standing outside the courtroom, the group representing Sanchez declined to talk about the victim. One woman, who didn’t identify herself, said, “It’s too soon.”

The brother and sister remain behind in San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp on $2 million bail. The judge ordered both defendants to appear at the Oct. 12 preliminary hearing.

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October 01, 2012
A whole lot of delays won't get the sister off.

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