Local family invited to State of the Union

Trump invites brothers of gun violence victim from Farmersville to support legislation against sanctuary states, cities

By Paul Myers

EXETER – President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address kept pundits abuzz over neglected pleasantries like handshakes, and torn speeches. But locally, there was a specific few lines that spoke directly to one of Tulare County’s own: Jody Jones.

Called by Sheriff Mike Boudreaux as a “reign of terror” in December 2018, Gustavo Garcia, 36, of Visalia killed Farmerville’s Rocky Jones during a 24-hour crime spree. In that time Garcia shot several more, and sent four to the hospital. His crimes spanned from Sultana to Pixley in less than a day.

Jody, one of Rocky’s four brothers, was privileged to attend the State of the Union as a guest of the president. 

“When the White House called and asked if I would like to be a guest I was like, ‘yeah,’” Jody said.

The man who had slain Jody’s brother had a history of criminal and violent behavior. Sheriff Boudreaux said his rap sheet dates back to more than 15 years when he was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon in Reedley, Calif. and armed robbery in Fresno County in 2002. He was sentenced to two years in prison for the armed robbery. In 2003 he was arrested for vandalism and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In 2012 he was arrested for being under the influence of and in possession of methamphetamine as well as drug paraphernalia. Earlier that year, he was arrested for being under the influence of drugs and providing false information to an officer.

He had an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold in 2004, 2012 and 2014 and he appeared in federal court for immigration reasons in 2012 and 2014 before being deported in 2014. Trump said that it is because of California’s sanctuary state law, SB 54, the kept law enforcement from turning Garcia over. 

“The state of California passed an outrageous law declaring their whole state to be a sanctuary for criminal illegal immigrants — a very terrible sanctuary — with catastrophic results,” Trump said.

Jody’s main purpose for attending the address was to illustrate importance for Thom Tillis’ (R-NC) proposed legislation giving citizens the opportunity to sue sanctuary cities and states. Jody believes the legislation will pass, and said, “oh yes,” when asked if he would consider suing California if Tillis’ law passes.

Trump belabored his point using an example of criminal activity from New York. 

“Just 29 days ago, a criminal alien freed by the sanctuary city of New York was charged with the brutal rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman,” Trump said. “The killer had been previously arrested for assault, but under New York’s sanctuary policies, he was set free. If the city had honored ICE’s detainer request, his victim would still be alive today.”

Jody said that he believes Trump is attempting to help communities from suffering at the hands of heinous criminals like Garcia.

“It’s not about immigration…it’s about illegal immigration and the criminal element in that,” Jody said. “That’s what he’s trying to stop here because that’s what’s breaking down our communities.”

Jody added that what happened to his brother is an appropriate example for Tillis’ legislation.

“You couldn’t draw up a better case than my brother’s case, to poke holes in a sanctuary state law,” Jody said. 

He added that he and his family are also working on filing a law suit against Walmart. Because Garcia was able to steal ammunition from a display case, the Jones family considers the retail super giant guilty of Rocky’s death as well.

“It’s really a David and Goliath situation…my family, we feel like Walmart is just as liable as the state,” Jody said.

Start typing and press Enter to search