A suspect in the Easter 2019 killing of a 16-year-old Yakima boy is going to prison for the next 15½ years.
Nathaniel Orlando Garcia, 21, entered an Alford plea to charges of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault Tuesday in the death of David Martinez. In return, prosecutors dropped first-degree murder and first-degree robbery charges, according to Yakima County Superior Court records.
An Alford plea allows Garcia to maintain his innocence while conceding that prosecutors had enough evidence to convince a jury to find him guilty.
Garcia’s sentence, which was at the top of the sentencing range for first-degree manslaughter based on his criminal history, also includes a five-year firearms enhancement. He was also sentenced to 366 days for the assault, which will run together with the manslaughter sentence.
“Under all the facts and circumstances of the case, we did what we thought was best to effectuate a conviction and a relatively lengthy sentence,” said Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Brusic.
Both prosecutors and Garcia’s attorney conceded that Garcia was not the one who shot Martinez in the April 21, 2019, incident.
Martinez was walking with a group in the 1800 block of Sliger Road around 2 a.m. when they were confronted by Garcia and another armed man, according to court documents. Garcia and the other man asked the boys if they were gang members, and when they said no, they drew guns on Martinez and the others and demanded money, court documents said.
Martinez grabbed one of his assailants and threw him to the ground, and a fight began, documents said. Video footage from a nearby business showed Garcia run over to where Martinez and the other assailant were fighting before shots were fired, court documents said.
The footage later shows Martinez on the ground, while Garcia hops on one foot before he also falls, having been shot multiple times, the documents said.
An autopsy found that Martinez was killed by six gunshots to the chest. Garcia was taken first to a local hospital and then to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he spent several months before being booked into the Yakima County jail.
Yakima police are still searching for the other suspect, police Capt. Jay Seely said.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Yakima police at 509-575-6200 or Yakima County Crime Stoppers at 800-248-9980. Tips can also be submitted online at http://www.crimestoppersyakco.org.