A grieving father named Humberto Garcia came into my radio studio on April 5, 2005, desperate to tell an incredible story of rape, murder and official misconduct. The story had been told before on cable TV. However, unlike the Natalee Holloway case in Aruba, it had been dropped like a rock. But the story seemed so important and so worthy of continued coverage. And in the wake of that appearance, some amazing developments have taken place.
The story that Humberto Garcia told our listeners that night was mesmerizing. He explained that on the afternoon of January 26, 2004, his beautiful young daughter, Jenny Garcia Hayden, was brutally raped and murdered in the Garcia home in Northwest Austin. Jenny’s younger sisters had found her body — naked, hands tied behind her back, a piece of cloth in her mouth, muzzled with duct tape. A butcher knife protruded from her chest.
There were bloody handprints and other evidence, and it didn’t take the police long to produce a suspect: 20-year-old David Diaz Morales, who had worked with Jenny at the International House of Pancakes. The District Attorney, Ronnie Earle, agreed that this was a heinous crime that should warrant the death penalty.
But Mr. Garcia’s grief and outrage extended beyond the fact that his daughter was a victim. He told us that if the police and the District Attorney in Austin had done their jobs, Jenny never would have been killed.
He explained that Morales had been arrested before -– on child molestation charges –- and that Morales was known to be in the United States illegally. Before all this happened, Morales had been deported for immigration violations, but had returned.
Mr. Garcia wanted two things to happen that he believed would bring “Justice for Jenny.” First, he wanted D.A. Earle to follow through on his promise to seek lethal injection for Morales. Second, he wanted Austin and other cities to end their “Sanctuary City” policies that prevent illegal aliens from being turned over to immigration authorities. Mr. Garcia wanted to sue the city of Austin, but no lawyer would take his case. He pleaded for a lawyer to come forward and help.
After Humberto Garcia’s appearance on our show, things began to happen. I wrote a column for an internet site explaining the case in great detail. That led to more media appearances by Mr. Garcia and a long article in the city magazine “Scene in San Antonio.”
One of those who caught the article on Newsmax was a Buda, Texas, lawyer named Matt Burns. He contacted us, and we made arrangements for him to meet with the Garcia family. Following that, Mr. Burns and Mr. Garcia both appeared on our radio show.
In July 2005, Ronnie Earle’s office decided to renege on their promise to Humberto Garcia. Instead of seeking the death penalty for Mr. Morales, they accepted a plea that would require about 50 years of prison time -– but no lethal injection. Mr. Garcia was crushed.
By this time, Matt Burns was fully involved in the case, and he issued a statement about Ronnie Earle, who by this time was actively pursuing his ethics case against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. In the statement, Burns charged, “This is the same Ronnie Earle who has plenty of money to harass elected officials all over the state but now can’t afford a capital trial in his own primary jurisdiction.”
But Earle’s decision had been made. There was only one thing left to do. Matt Burns filed a lawsuit against the city of Austin for its Sanctuary City policy, also naming Police Chief Stanley Knee. The suit charges that the Austin police knew before the murder that Morales was in the country illegally when he was arrested for the molestation of a minor.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. On November 13, Dallas police officer Brian Jackson was killed the line of duty. The suspect, Juan Lizcano, is a 28-year-old illegal alien who was given to fits of rage when he had been drinking. Did authorities know about Lizcano? Indeed they did as he had been arrested twice before, for a “terroristic threat” against his girlfriend and for DWI. Authorities said there are so many illegal aliens that Lizcano didn’t rise to the screening level.
Will there be justice for Jenny –- and for that matter for Officer Jackson? Obviously, nothing can undo the damage done by the Austin police and the District Attorney. But if Mr. Burns is able to get his case into open court where it can get the media coverage it deserves, perhaps Sanctuary City policies will be abolished. Then, Jenny’s death will not have been in vain.