Man who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter to be sentenced

Salvador Garcia-Vaca

After pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter in November, Salvador Garcia-Vaca will appear in a Colusa courtroom Wednesday for sentencing. 

Garcia-Vaca, accused of murdering Williams native Karen Garcia in January 2018, also admitted to the kidnapping and robbery of the victim following an altercation, in addition to a weapons enhancement charge. 

He will also be sentenced for a felony corporal injury charge stemming from an incident in Dec. 2017, just weeks before Karen Garcia was murdered. He pleaded guilty to that in November as well. 

Garcia-Vaca originally pleaded not guilty in September 2019 to one count of murder with special circumstances for lying in wait as well as a battery charge stemming from the other incident, but later changed his plea after admitting that he killed Garcia in a fit of spontaneous rage and jealousy. 

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 that time, police obtained a search warrant to search the home that Garcia-Vaca had shared with the victim and found a substantial amount of blood in a bedroom.  

Authorities believed Garcia-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. 

Prior to fleeing, authorities learned Garcia-Vaca and the victim had fought because she had made the decision to move out of the apartment they shared and was seeing another person. Garcia-Vaca was arrested in August 2019 by United States marshals in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and extradited back to the Colusa County Jail, where he has remained in custody. 

According to a release, the Colusa County District Attorney’s Office expects Garcia-Vaca will receive 25 years in prison in addition to the year and a half he has already spent in custody.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in Department Two of the Colusa County Superior Courthouse Annex, 532 Oak Street, Colusa.

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