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Man takes 35-year prison deal, pleads guilty to strangling wife in 2020

Arnold Garcia, 32, was sentenced to 35 years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty to his wife's murder in 2020.
Credit: KHOU
Arnold Garcia (L) and Elizabeth Hernandez (R).

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — A Houston man cut a deal with prosecutors on the day before a jury was going to be selected in his murder trial.

Arnold S. Garcia was sentenced to 35 years in prison in exchange for his guilty plea.

Garcia, 32, strangled his wife, Elizabeth Hernandez, in 2020.

“This was a wife and mother who was well loved by friends and family and who was killed while trying to get out of an abusive relationship,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “It is far too common to see domestic violence escalate into a murder, especially when a victim is trying to get out.”

What happened

On Sept. 20 that year, Garcia called 911 and told police that he had killed his wife at their apartment along Philippine Street, which is near the intersection of the Northwest Freeway and Beltway 8 in northwest Harris County.

When Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constables got there, they found Garcia with a bloody nose, scratches on his neck, a rug burn on his elbow and blood on his hands.

Garcia told investigators that he had shot and killed Hernandez, 30, in self-defense three hours earlier.

The apartment was in disarray and Garcia called his parents in the middle of the night to come to pick up his and Hernandez's children. When they arrived, Garcia sent the kids out and refused to let his parents into the apartment.

Abusive relationship

Those who were close to Hernandez told authorities that she was trying to get out of the relationship with Garcia because he was abusive.

Hernandez and Garcia had two children together and she also had three other children from another relationship.

“Friends and family, including her children, were ready to testify against Garcia because of everything he did,” Assistant District Attorney Anthony Osso said. “She was a kind and caring mother who loved her children and whose children loved her. Her death was an incredible tragedy.”

Garcia's past

In 2009, Garcia was arrested and charged after investigators said he stabbed his girlfriend in the leg with a key.

He pleaded guilty in the case and went through deferred adjudication probation.

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