A Harris County judge sentenced Roy Garcia Jr. of Baytown to life in prison for the first-degree murder of his 34-year-old common-law wife, Julia Martinez. 

According to court documents, Garcia pleaded guilty to the murder of Martinez, who was shot to death in her car in the driveway of their home in the Springfield subdivision. Her then teen daughter and 5-year-old son witnessed the attack from inside the vehicle.  

“Julie suffered through years of abuse at the hands of Roy Garcia Jr., and he ultimately took her life in front of two of their children,” said Assistant District Attorney Lauren Byrne.  “We are thankful that the judge considered all of the evidence and determined that Garcia should spend the rest of his life in prison.”

Assistant district attorney’s Byrne and Anthony Osso tried the case. 

On the day of the incident, Sept. 16, 2017, Garcia was waiting for Martinez at a house in the 7900 block of Echinacea in the Springfield subdivision. At around 1:30 p.m. that day, Garcia shot and killed Martinez during an argument as she sat in her car with her two children. 

Garcia wanted to talk to Martinez but she refused to get out of the car. Harris County Sheriff’s Office said he was trying to talk to her through the window but she wouldn’t roll it down enough to talk. 

He then pulled out a gun and shot her through the window. 

Immediately after the shooting, Martinez’s car crashed into several mailboxes and vehicles before she succumbed to her injuries. 

After the shooting, Garcia fled the scene. Hours later, he turned himself in to state troopers at an Interstate 10 rest stop in Guadalupe County, more than 150 miles away from the slaying.

“This case shines a light on the vicious cycle of domestic violence, the risk of homicides in these volatile situations, and the need to combat this epidemic.  We should do all we can to prevent the deaths of others who are suffering in silence,” said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. 

Prior to the murder, Garcia had been arrested in 2012 for making terroristic threats against Martinez but the case was later dismissed. In 2016 he was found guilty of aggravated assault. According to court records, Garcia pointed a gun at Martinez and their children in front of their residence. 

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