FAIRFIELD — The next step in the effort by the killer of Fairfield City Councilman Matt Garcia to get his conviction overturned was scheduled Tuesday.
Judge Robert Bowers scheduled an Aug. 15 hearing for Henry D. Williams, who claims his 2010 jury trial was tainted by juror misconduct.
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.
Williams claimed in 2012 that a juror approached his wife in the courthouse hallway during a break in the 2010 jury trial and began talking with her in a conversation that eventually included the juror offering to trade his vote for sex. The juror acknowledges having a brief conversation with Williams’ wife, but denies anything other than pleasantries were exchanged.
Williams was found guilty of first-degree murder and was later sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.
The Court of Appeal in October 2013 ordered the local courts to conduct a hearing on Williams’ claims. Since then, Williams invoked and then revoked his legal right to act as his own attorney, maneuvers that created months of delays that frustrated Garcia’s family.
Prosecutors say Williams’ claims are baseless.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.