Supreme Court upholds murder conviction, death penalty in Garcia conviction

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Michael Garcia

PORT ALLEN - District Attorney Richard J. Ward, Jr. reports that on June 24, 2013, the Supreme Court Of The United States upheld the first degree murder conviction and death penalty of Michael Garcia from The 18th Judicial District Court, Parish Of West Baton Rouge.

Garcia’s petition claimed that his trial attorneys had a conflict of interest because they and Garcia’s co-defendants’ lawyers are all public defenders for the 18th Judicial District.

This issue was previously upheld by The Louisiana Supreme Court On Appeal after it ordered a hearing to determine the employment status of the attorneys that defended Garcia and his do-defendants, Danil Garica and James Nelson. 

The state proved that there was no conflict between the public defenders because they all practiced as independent contractors, separate from one another even though they do work for the same office.

Garcia was tried and convicted in June 2008 for the murder of Matthew Millican after kidnapping and brutalizing him and his girlfriend at knifepoint in Port Allen,

Garcia, along with his co-defendants, ended up here on a crime spree that started in Florida where they sexually assaulted and murdered a woman in her home.

While running from their crimes in Florida, they stole a travel trailer in Slidell that broke down while they were traveling on Interstate 10 in West Baton Rouge Parish.

Lead appellate counsel for District Attorney Ricky Ward’s Office was Antonio M. “Tony” Clayton and Elizabeth A. Engolio authored the brief in opposition for the state.

William Sothern Of Conner And Sothern, Llc in New Orleans was counsel of record for Garcia.