Plea deal gives Garza partial immunity for testimony against 2 remaining defendants
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
A second suspect has been sentenced in the case of an alleged carjacking last January.
Friday, District Judge Clint Peterson set Juan Garza’s sentence at 88 months for one count of kidnapping and 59 months for one count of aggravated robbery. He is also facing 36 months of post relese supervision after serving his sentences.
Garza, 26, was schedule to be on trial in December, but he opted to enter into a plea agreement with the state. His sentence began on Feb. 16, 2010, and the remainder of the sentence will be served in the Kansas Department of Corrections.
Peterson also ordered Garza to register as an offender, and the judge said the defendant’s crimes were felonies committed with a firearm. Garza was also granted immunity to testify as a witness in the cases of fellow suspects Matthew Perez, 27, and Bobby Stensland, 19, to be heard later this year.
Another suspect, Jose Gil, 25, was convicted in November 2010 of one count each of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. He was sentenced to 281 months in the Seward County Jail.
Stensland’s trial was heard in November 2010, but after jurors could not agree on some of the charges, Peterson declared a mistrial. That case is scheduled to be on the docket in February.
Perez’s case had been set for January, but when attorneys failed to locate a material witness, the trial was reset for April 18. A warrant has been put out for the witness, who court authorities asked not to be identified.
Garza, Perez, Gil and Stensland were arrested between Jan. 29, 2010, and March 1, 2010, by authorities in Ford and Finney counties, according to a statement from Liberal Police Capt. Pat McClurg.
Those arrests came following the alleged Jan. 10, 2010, incident in which a handicapped victim was forced out of his vehicle without his wheelchair and had to crawl for help.
The victim’s Blazer was later recovered in Finney County.