A motion to dismiss a lying in wait allegation has been denied for accused killer Salvador Garcia-Vaca, the man charged with murdering Williams native Karen Garcia in January 2018. 

Garcia-Vaca appeared in a Colusa Superior courtroom June 17 to review the motion submitted by his council in February, after several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The motion was filed during an arraignment hearing in February, one month after Colusa Superior Court Judge Jeffery A. Thompson ruled that the evidence presented during the January preliminary hearing indicated sufficient probable cause to believe the defendant committed the alleged crime. 

Garcia-Vaca pleaded not guilty in September 2019 to one count of murder with special circumstances for lying in wait and a battery charge stemming from another incident with the victim in December 2017.

Garcia’s body was discovered in a car parked in a Woodland shopping center parking lot in January 2018, one week after she went missing. An autopsy later determined she had died from blunt force trauma. 

Garcia-Vaca, the victim’s ex-boyfriend and father of her child, was questioned by police during the week Garcia was missing. Soon after, Garcia-Vaca fled. Around this time, police obtained a search warrant to search the home that Gacia-Vaca shared with the victim and found a substantial amount of blood in a bedroom. 

Authorities believed Gacia-Vaca had gone to Mexico after a stolen Toyota van that he was believed to be driving was located near the U.S.-Mexico border in October 2018. 

Garcia-Vaca was arrested in August 2019 by the United States Marshals in Guadalajara, Julisco, Mexico and extradited back to the Colusa County Jail, where he has remained in custody awaiting trial. 

Garcia-Vaca is scheduled to appear in court again on Aug. 19 for a trial setting hearing.


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