West Garza's killer sentenced to 35 years

West Garza's killer sentenced to 35 years

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The man convicted in the shooting death of a popular Lubbock musician has been sentenced to 35 years in prison. 

Pete Garcia, Jr., 56, was convicted of shooting and killing Orestes "West" Garza outside St. Elizabeth's Catholic University Parish in February of last year.

Jurors found Garza's death was not a result of sudden passion, siding with prosecutors who said the evidence did not support the claim. 

During closing arguments defense attorney Dan Hurley emphasized Garcia snapping at the sight of the victim and his ex-wife kissing and hugging outside of St. Elizabeth's church last February. He said it sparked a white hot anger that his client could not control and led him to grab his gun, chase the victim, then shoot him four times.

During deliberations jurors requested certain evidence to support the defense's claim, asking the judge if this was Garcia's first time seeing the two together. 

At the end of Hurley's closing argument, he pleaded with the jury to take mercy on Garcia, asking them to let him go home to his family. 

Prosecutor Sunshine Stanek vehemently disagreed with his request, in return asking the jury when West Garza was going to get to go home to his family.

She called Garcia a cold blooded murderer and the emotional arguments are not based on legal merit and does not excuse the murder. 

In a statement from the family, Garza's sister Dilly said while the defendant claims he is a devout catholic, the lies and deception spewed in the courtroom proved otherwise.

Garcia will be available for parole after at least half of his sentence is served.

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