Crime — 26 July 2013 — by Rochelle Gillett

Garcia chopped Herrera on his left forearm and chopped off the fingers of his right hand

Romolo Garcia, 55, a resident of Hattieville, was convicted of use of deadly means of harm with intent to cause grievous harm last week Tuesday after a jury found him guilty in a ratio of 8 to 1. Garcia had attacked Alfredo Herrera with a machete on April 1, 2011, and chopped him twice – once on the left forearm, and a second time on the right hand, with a severe chop that severed all of Herrera’s fingers on that hand. This morning, Garcia was sentenced to 5 years for his crime by Justice Adolph Lucas.

On April 1, 2011, according to Herrera’s statement, he had visited Garcia’s house from earlier that day and they had spent the better half of the day drinking Old Master extra strong rum with water. It was at 3:00 that afternoon that Herrera told Garcia that he had known his wife before her relationship with Garcia, and that caused Garcia to get into a rage.

Herrera had told police that Garcia then grabbed a machete which was beside him by a coconut tree and chased him with it, and in an attempt to escape harm, Herrera ran into Garcia’s house to try and get a machete which he had seen in the bedroom.

But he wasn’t fast enough, and Garcia chopped him, first to his left forearm, then, when Garcia was swinging the machete to chop Herrera again, Herrera raised his hand in an effort to block the chop, and that was when Garcia chopped his fingers.

Herrera was unable to testify in court because he died before the matter came up for trial. He died from cardiac arrest due to septic shock as a direct result of his diabetes, and not as a result of infection caused by the chopping of his fingers, as was previously published.

Cpl. Victor Lima, the officer who recorded Herrera’s statement, was also unable to attend the trial because he was shot and died as a result of his injury in 2012, but both their statements were read into evidence at the trial.

This morning, two persons appeared in court to speak for Garcia’s mitigation before he was sentenced, and both of them spoke about Garcia being a calm man who never got into any altercation with anyone, even when he was drunk. The first witness, Maria Humes, told the court that she has known him for over five years, and although she had seen him drunk and sleeping on the ground in a drunken stupor before, she had never seen him act violently.

Fidel Blair was the next witness to speak on Garcia’s behalf, and he told the court that he knows Garcia to be a law-abiding citizen who worked very hard for what he wanted.

Garcia thanked them and then told the court that he has a sick wife who suffers from high blood pressure, who needs him beside her to take care of her and provide for her. He further stated that he is hoping not to get a long sentence because he has an eye which needs medical treatment, and he is a person of low income, and he therefore sought the court’s consideration.

Justice Lucas retired to his chambers for 15 minutes before returning to court with his sentence. He told Garcia, “I have heard your plea in mitigation and gave consideration to your sick wife, but you should have thought about your sick wife before you chopped Mr. Herrera.”

Garcia was then sentenced to five years, but had two years deducted for the time he has been on remand, so Garcia will end up spending only three years in prison. The sentence became effective on July 9, 2013, the date the trial started.

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