Man Convicted of "Ritualistic" Body Parts Murder in DTLA
It was a murder so gruesome and ritualistic that the victim's body was found in pieces, almost without blood.
Authorities quickly zeroed in on a married couple, 41-year-old Edward Garcia Jr. and 30-year-old Melissa Hope Garcia, suspected of robbing and killing a man, then dismembering him, possibly to hide the body.
The elder Garcia was convicted Tuesday of "first-degree murder, torture and dismemberment," the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office announced.
A court prosecutor said the pair were acting on a "fantasy they had about cutting up a human being" and that this was a "ritualistic killing."
According to a D.A.'s statement:
Deputy District Attorney John McKinney with the Major Crimes Division told jurors Garcia and his wife killed White on or about Nov. 28, 2010, as part of a ritualistic killing to murder and dismember a human being. Some of White's remains were discovered in a backpack in a room at the Continental Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Other body parts were discovered underneath a blood-stained mattress in the room where the couple stayed.
The victim, Herbert Tracy White, was murdered days before his 50th birthday. His remains were found in that flophouse on downtown's Skid Row.
The duo was caught in an abandoned building in Hollywood days after the victim's body was discovered.
In convicting Edward Garcia, the jury found special circumstances of robbery and torture applied to the killing. He faces the possibility of life behind bars without parole.
His wife was being tried separately. She was due in court Friday.
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Prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty. Both have been behind bars without bail since they were captured in Hollywood.
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