FAIRFIELD — The killer of Fairfield City Councilman Matt Garcia in 2008 was in court briefly Thursday, getting another delay for a hearing to determine if he was the victim of juror misconduct during his 2010 murder trial.
Henry D. Williams had been scheduled for the hearing June 23. Months ago, he opted to get rid of his court-appointed lawyer and act as his own lawyer. Williams flip-flopped on that decision Thursday, asking Judge Robert Bowers to reappoint a lawyer for him.
Bowers ordered Williams to return to court Tuesday, when a lawyer with the Public Defender’s Office will be on hand to reschedule the hearing.
Bowers is the same judge who sentenced Williams to 50 years to life in prison after the jury found Williams guilty of first-degree murder.
Williams claims a juror approached his wife in the courthouse hallway during a break in his jury trial and began talking with her in a conversation that eventually included the juror offering to trade his vote for sex. The juror, who ultimately was the foreman, acknowledges having a brief conversation with Williams’ wife, but denies anything other than pleasantries were exchanged.
Williams shot and killed Garcia on the night of Sept. 1, 2008, in a drunken case of mistaken identity. Williams and an accomplice were looking for a methamphetamine dealer who had ripped off the accomplice for $50 earlier in the day. Williams mistook Garcia for the dealer and fired several shots at him.
The Court of Appeal in October 2013 ordered the local courts to conduct a hearing on Williams’ claims. Prosecutors say those claims are baseless.
Garcia, 22, was one of the youngest elected officials in the state when he was elected to office in 2007 at age 21. He was the youngest councilman in Fairfield history.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.