Murderer sentenced to life for double homicide

Reyes Garcia is sentenced to life without parole for killing two people in a July 2013 robbery

PORTERVILLE – A Tulare County murderer was sentenced to life without parole for a 2013 double murder in Visalia.

Last Thursday, Aug. 19 the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office announced Reyes Garcia, 47, was sentenced for killing Jerry Murillo, 58, and Marie Rogers, 59, in their home during a robbery. According to the DA’s office, a caretaker found the two victims on the morning of July 12, 2013 in their ransacked home. The victims were beaten and stabbed with their throats slit.

Through investigation, Garcia and another man, Adrian Castillon, were identified as suspects. Using video surveillance from a neighbor’s home, detectives confirmed the men’s presence at the crime scene. On July 13, 2013, Garcia and Castillon were apprehended on a Visalia city bus after witnesses saw them board with bags. Further investigation revealed the men spent the night in Hanford and disposed bloody clothes in a motel dumpster.

During interviews with the defendants, detectives ascertained that the men knew the victims and planned to steal money and other items of value.

On Jan. 7, 2021, Garcia pleaded guilty to one count of special circumstance first-degree murder for the killing of Rogers, and pleaded no contest to an additional count of special circumstance first-degree murder for the killing of Murillo, two counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, first-degree residential robbery and first-degree burglary. The charges are enhanced with special allegations that Reyes possesses a prior strike and other felony convictions for burglary, cultivation of marijuana, and that he was on felony probation when the crimes occurred. Reyes is a convicted child molester and sex offender registrant.

Castillon also admitted his role in the crimes and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in September 2015. Additionally, two women who assisted the men during and after the crime also pleaded and were sentenced in 2015: Betssy Huerta, 34, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiracy and Olivia Solorzano, 30, was sentenced to over 10 years in prison for participating in the robbery.

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