Dundalk man gets two life terms for killing 2 women

Prostitutes were strangled a month apart in city in '02

July 20, 2004|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

A Dundalk man convicted in April of strangling two prostitutes was sentenced yesterday to back-to-back life terms in prison without the possibility of parole by a Baltimore judge who called him an "evil and violent person."

City Circuit Judge John M. Glynn told the courtroom that there was overwhelming evidence against John Patrick Garcia, while Garcia told the judge he is innocent and had no motive to rape and kill prostitutes.

"I can go into any bar any day of the week and get any woman I want, not by being a Don Juan, but by being me," Garcia said in his own defense before sentencing.

He also told the judge, "If I'm so bad and cruel, why haven't I had any problems in jail?"

A jury found Garcia, 36, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the 2002 strangling deaths of Melody Brock, 33, and Danielle Fell, 18.

The two women, killed a month apart, were found naked on city streets, covered with Garcia's bite marks. Both were drug-addicted prostitutes who worked in South Baltimore.

During his trial, Garcia took the stand as the only defense witness and told the jury that he and another man used crack cocaine, drank alcohol and had the women perform oral sex just before each was found dead. He claimed the other man, who he called "Uncle Paul," killed the women.

Glynn said yesterday that he did not believe Garcia's story. "Your explanations were transparent fabrications designed to fit in with the case," Glynn told him.

The mothers of the victims tearfully described to the court their anguish at losing their daughters and their anger toward Garcia.

"I am left to know she didn't just die, she was violently killed," said Gloria McGinnis, Brock's mother. "She was alone, and she was tossed aside like she was garbage. I wasn't able to say goodbye and I love her one more time."

The mother of the other victim, Joanne Linton Fell, said: "He is a violent serial killer. You bite someone, and you rape them, and you beat them, and you throw them out on display," Fell said. "Give him what he's given us: hell here on earth."

Two of Garcia's sisters spoke during the hearing, saying their brother is not capable of committing the crimes.

"He is a family man, he grew up in a Christian home," said Delores Garcia, a correctional officer. "He doesn't have it in him to hurt anyone or kill them. You're putting away an innocent man."

Garcia has also been indicted in the kidnapping and rape of two other women and is accused of trying to kill one of them. He is expected to stand trial on those charges Aug. 30. Prosecutor Joanne Stanton said she would go forward with the cases.

In the murder case, prosecutors Stanton and Larry Doan presented DNA evidence linking Garcia to the slayings.

They linked a tire track from the minivan he was driving, a boot print, a baseball, bite marks and his DNA to the victims. Traces of Garcia's skin were found under the victims' fingernails.

Doan and Stanton also showed the jury a tattered baseball found near Brock's body. Garcia's grade-school son told police the ball belonged to him.

Garcia's lawyer, Warren A. Brown maintained that the wrong man was convicted, and compared Garcia to Kirk Bloodsworth, a Maryland death row inmate who was cleared by DNA evidence a decade ago of the 1984 rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl.

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