FAIRFIELD — Yet another delay arose Friday in resolving the question of whether the killer of Fairfield City Councilman Matt Garcia in 2008 deserves a new trial because of juror misconduct during his trial.
Dozens of friends and supporters for Garcia’s family were on hand at the courthouse for what was supposed to be a hearing about claims a juror during the 2010 murder trial for Henry D. Williams had offered Williams’ wife to vote not guilty if she would have sex with him.
Unfortunately for Williams, his wife was a no-show for the hearing, forcing a weeks-long postponement while Williams’ attorney tries to track her down and get her to court.
The wife last year detailed the encounters and discussions with the juror in a declaration signed under penalty of perjury. The declaration prompted the Court of Appeal in October 2013 to order a hearing for getting witness testimony about what happened among jurors during the trial. That has been repeatedly scheduled and then postponed by legal maneuvering by Williams and his attorney.
Prosecutors have said the claims raised by Williams’ wife are untrue. The juror has been questioned about the allegations multiple times in the past and has given varying descriptions about events.
Judge Robert Bowers ordered Williams back to court Aug. 29 when a new date for the hearing may be scheduled.
When the hearing takes place, Williams and his attorney are expected to call as witnesses Garcia’s mother and stepfather, Teresa and Raymond Courtemanche. They observed the juror in question talking with a woman in the courthouse hallway during a break in the trial. They reported the interaction with the prosecutor, which led to a brief hearing during the trial in which Bowers quizzed the juror briefly before concluding nothing inappropriate had occurred.
Williams and an accomplice had gone to Cordelia after a day of partying and drinking, seeking a drug dealer who had stiffed the accomplice for $50 in a methamphetamine buy earlier in the day. As the pair drove from the dealer’s home on the night of Sept. 1, 2008, Williams saw Garcia drive past and thought he may be the dealer. Williams fired several shots toward Garcia, fatally striking him once in the back of the head.
Friday’s hearing ended with no mention of Williams ongoing efforts to get his defense attorney removed from the case.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.