Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Killer must be released from mental hospital

DADE CITY — A judge on Monday reluctantly ordered a mentally ill killer into an unsecured treatment facility, lacking any lawful reason to keep him locked up in a hospital any longer.

Enrique Guzan Garcia was accused in the 1999 murder of a Tommytown man who was stabbed 31 times, including eight times in the groin.

Garcia admitted to the crime but was found not guilty by reason of insanity, telling doctors he was influenced by a monkey he found in a pot in his front yard. He has been in a secure state hospital ever since.

This year his lawyers petitioned to have him released to a less restrictive environment, saying he has made progress in treatment and is no longer a threat.

Prosecutors objected but acknowledged that Garcia doesn't meet the criteria to stay in a state hospital.

"He's not a danger to himself anymore, he's taking his medications, he hasn't had any incidents. He hasn't acted out," said Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia, who is not related to Enrique Garcia.

Still, the prosecutor said he's not comfortable with the release.

Enrique Garcia will be sent in the next few days to the Agency for Community Treatment Services residential facility on Old Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs. He'll be there under order by Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa, but the facility is not guarded and nothing would physically prevent him from leaving.

"He stabbed a guy 31 times and … as (recently) as April, he told the doctors there he was communicating with his deceased mother telepathically. That doesn't sound like a person who was in his right mind," Manny Garcia said. "But that's only one of the factors."

Siracusa said Monday he was reluctant to order the release but did not think the law allowed Enrique Garcia to continue to be detained.

He attached almost two dozen conditions to his order, including that Garcia can't own firearms, he can't take any drugs not prescribed by his doctor and he can't drink any alcohol.

In a hearing last week, the judge attempted to involve federal immigration authorities in the matter because Garcia is a Mexican citizen in the United States illegally.

From the bench, Siracusa called seven different phone numbers to various offices of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He got nowhere.

The prosecutor worked on that angle too and said immigration authorities told him they plan to begin deportation proceedings.

"It's just a matter of them figuring out which office is going to handle it, the Miami office or the Tampa office," Manny Garcia said.

Assistant Public Defender Tom Hanlon represented Enrique Garcia during his trial though he did not handle this phase of the case.

He attended last week's hearing — where he got a hug from his former client — and said the judge's ruling is good news.

"He's certainly way, way, way better than when I first got him," Hanlon said.

"I think the professionals did a good job and they restored his competency."

If Garcia is deported, Hanlon said, his current public defender has been working with Mexican officials to help him get re-established in his own country.

Siracusa's order also contains a condition that if immigration officials come for him, he must go voluntarily.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

Killer must be released from mental hospital 09/15/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 18, 2008 7:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.