Sentencing delayed again in Aurora murder case
By Dan Campana For Sun-Times Media September 5, 2013 4:38PM
Updated: October 7, 2013 1:24PM
A year removed from being found guilty of murder, Preciliano Garcia once again delayed his upcoming sentencing hearing.
On Thursday, a day before Garcia’s latest scheduled sentencing, his attorney stepped before Kane County Judge James Hallock to ask for time to further look into new information Garcia provided her about a witness tied to the November 2009 shooting that left Mario Vasquez dead.
“I have to have time to investigate that,” Assistant Public Defender Brenda Willett said.
Garcia, last of Chicago, was convicted of murder, armed robbery and home invasion by now-retired Judge Timothy Sheldon after a 2012 bench trial. Garcia and another man, Anthony Ortiz, forced their way into a home on North Chestnut Street in Aurora in November 2008 with plans to rob the residents. Shots were fired during a struggle with several men inside the home, and Vasquez suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the neck.
Minutes before he was scheduled to be sentenced in November 2012, Garcia complained about attorney Chris Wheaton’s handling of the case, which Garcia said included a failure to talk to a potential alibi witness. Garcia’s claim came just before Sheldon retired, which caused the case to bounce among a couple of judges. In April, Hallock began a formal hearing on Garcia’s ineffective counsel motion, but that was then put on hold when it was discovered Garcia had sought to transfer the case out of Hallock’s courtroom a month earlier.
Hallock, who remained assigned to hear the case, eventually ruled against Garcia request for a new trial based on Wheaton’s performance and scheduled sentencing for Friday.
Assistant State’s Attorney Dave Belshan objected to any further delay of the sentencing.
“We’ve heard all of this already,” Belshan, said referring to the issue of new witness information.
Hallock said he would consider Willett’s request for time to investigate the witness information during a Friday hearing. If Hallock denies it, he will set a new sentencing date.