Judge OKs plea bargain for teen in Ogden grocer’s fatal shooting
OGDEN — A judge on Wednesday accepted a plea bargain worked out by attorneys in the case of Antonio Gianny Garcia, 16, who has admitted to the Feb. 28 fatal shooting of an Ogden grocery store owner.
Garcia, of Ogden, has been held at the Weber Valley Youth Center, up the street from the Weber County Jail, since his arrest a few days after the death of Satnam Singh, 65, at Super Grocery. Weber County prosecutors said Garcia, who was 15 at the time, went to the store late at night to rob it. He told Singh, “This is a stickup” and shot him three times as the victim moved away from the cash register.
Garcia’s attorney, Ron Nichols, told 2nd District Judge Jennifer Valencia that the teenager will serve five years at Millcreek Youth Center, nearby on 12th Street. Millcreek, operated by the Utah Division of Juvenile Justice Services, is described as a “long-term locked confinement facility for serious and habitual delinquent youth.” Millcreek inmates, the agency says, “require 24-hour monitoring and supervision focused on rehabilitation and community protection.”
In 2nd District Juvenile Court on Sept. 30, Garcia agreed to plead guilty to a charge of felony discharge of a firearm, reduced from the original charge of aggravated murder. The reduced charge’s penalty is five years to life in prison; an aggravated murder conviction carries a 25-to-life sentence. Garcia in addition pleaded guilty as charged to first-degree felony aggravated robbery, a five-to-life offense.
Juvenile Court Judge Debra Jensen accepted the agreement and ruled that jurisdiction over the case would advance to 2nd District Court. The plea bargain was not official, however, until a district court judge accepted it, which Valencia did Wednesday. Letitia Toombs, a deputy Weber County attorney, said in juvenile court the plea bargain had a failsafe provision, in that if the district court rejected the deal, Garcia would withdraw the guilty pleas and the case would revert to juvenile court.
Under the plea bargain, Garcia will be held at Millcreek until he turns 21, at which time the case will be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. The board will decide whether Garcia will be paroled at that time or sent into the prison system to serve more time behind bars.
Singh, an Indian immigrant who moved his family to the United States in the 1970s, was the popular owner and operator of Super Grocery, 675 N. Monroe Blvd. Toombs told Valencia that Singh’s relatives may want to testify at Garcia’s sentencing. Valencia set the sentencing for Nov. 23.