A Texas man who claimed he fatally shot his stepfather in self-defense last year, after the man threatened his mother during a physical altercation, was handed an 18-year prison sentence.
Jaren Diego Garcia, 20, was convicted in the 2021 shooting murder of his stepfather Mark Ramos on Friday, Sept. 30, according to court filings.
Prosecutors said Garcia opened fire on his stepfather on March 5, 2021 shortly after he saw Ramos pour a beer on his mother, Bertha Garcia, during an argument at the family’s southside San Antonio home, San Antonio television station KSAT-TV reported. Garcia later intervened, shooting Ramos multiple times in the chest after throwing a portable speaker at him.
Garcia, who told police he opened fire in self-defense, remained at the scene of the shooting and initially cooperated with responding law enforcement. His stepfather was rushed to a nearby hospital where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries. Garcia, then 18, was later charged with murder.
At trial, both Garcia’s mother and younger brother, who was 14 at the time of the shooting, took the witness stand.
Bertha Garcia gave emotional testimony while recounting the deadly incident, telling the court that she had begged her son to not pull the trigger after he pulled out a handgun and pointed it at her husband.
“I’m telling him not to [shoot], it’s not worth it,” Bertha Garcia testified, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Bertha Garcia recalled that her son and husband were “trash talking” as the dispute continued to spiral out of control.
Photo: Bexar County Sheriff’s Office
“Before I knew it, he shot,” she added, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “He shot over me.”
Prosecutors repeatedly invoked Bertha Garcia’s testimony in making their case to the jury.
“His mom is actively trying to stop him from committing murder,” prosecutor Oscar Peña explained in court, KSAT reported. “Mark tries to walk out of the house but Diego follows him. Diego follows him out of the house and continues to fire and shoots six times.”
Garcia’s defense attorney, meanwhile, maintained throughout the trial that Garcia opened fire in self-defense. Lawyer Charles Banker claimed Ramos attacked his client with keys he’d positioned in his knuckles.
“He had no problem being aggressive, wanting to hurt people, he would be out of control and that night he was out of control,” Banker said in court, according to KSAT.
It’s unclear if Garcia plans to appeal his sentence. The 20-year-old must spend at least nine years in prison before he’s eligible for parole, per the San Antonio Express-News. He had faced a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Garcia’s lawyer didn’t immediately respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment on Monday.