Wanting to Get Closure
A new law allowing criminals convicted in other countries to be tried under California law will have no bearing on the case of the alleged murderer of local Deputy David March, a county deputy district attorney said Wednesday...
“At this point (the new Assembly Bill 1432) doesn’t even apply to David (March’s) case, and we hope that it never will,” said Jan Maurizi, the district attorney’s director of branch and area operations. “Our belief is that (March’s accused killer, Armando Garcia) needs to be extradited and prosecuted here.”
County District Attorney Steve Cooley sponsored the bill and used 33-year-old March’s death as an example of why it should be passed into law.
Garcia, a Mexican citizen, presently lives free in Mexico after he fled there while authorities sought him for the deputy’s murder.
March’s widow has been seeking justice through political action since her husband’s April 29, 2002, murder during a routine traffic stop in Irwindale. Saugus resident Teri March said she was happy the bill was passed but disappointed the district attorney’s office stated the bill won’t apply to the man accused of her husband’s murder.
“It has everything to do with David (March’s case),” she said. “I think we’ve been advertising for 3 1/2 years how to get away with murder. ... If they’re saying it’s common that Mexico has lenient sentences, we’ll be able to prosecute (Garcia) for the charges back here.”
The law allows the state to prosecute criminals convicted and punished in other countries if they return to California, but the criminals will receive credit here for the time served elsewhere.
“We actually started drafting this legislation before David was murdered,” Maurizi said. “This now brings California in line with 44 other states that recognize when a crime is committed in our state, we should be able to prosecute according to our laws.”
Teri March said the new law is a good start, but it doesn’t solve her problem or the problem of 300 other families in the county who also have murderers of loved ones on the loose in other countries.
“Something has to be done,” she said. “He’s walking in society. What’s he going to do to the people around him that are unknowing of the kind of criminal that he is?”
Maurizi said the problem was a federal treaty issue. Mexico won’t extradite Garcia because he would face life in prison or the death penalty and those punishments are unconstitutional according to the country’s laws.