Child-killer Gets Death Penalty For 2nd
By Joseph Sjostrom - ChicagoTribune.com
October 10, 1992
Garcia, convicted for the second time of murdering a member of her
family, this time her husband of one month, became the first woman to
be sentenced to death in Du Page County after a hearing Friday.
The sentence was
imposed in the shooting of George Garcia in Bensenville last year.
Guinevere Garcia, 33, previously had served a prison sentence for
murdering her 11-month-old daughter on Aug. 8, 1977, by placing a
plastic bag over the infant's head, and for setting four fires in
Chicago apartment buildings.
Referring to the
1977 case before passing sentence in the latest slaying, Judge John J.
Nelligan said: "One can only roughly imagine the terror of that child,
held in that position by her own mother."
Noting the four
arsons, the murders of her child and husband, and her failure to
express remorse for any of the crimes, Nelligan said: "What more
aggravating factors could there be?"
sentence had been sought by the prosecutors, Assistant Du Page County
State`s Attorneys Kathryn Creswell and Michael Wolfe.
"Is there a
shred of humanity left in Guinevere Garcia?" asked Creswell in
arguments earlier in the week. "Is there a shred of humanity in a
person who would kill a child, her own child . . . and then kill her
attorney, Thomas J. Riggs, argued that she should be spared the death
penalty because of her poor mental condition.
murder conviction was Garcia's second, Nelligan was restricted to
giving her the death penalty or natural life without parole.
formerly known as Guinevere Falakassa, was convicted of shooting
George Garcia in the early morning hours of July 23, 1991, while he
sat in his pickup truck outside his condominium at 920 W. Irving Park
At the time, she
had been out of prison on the arson and murder charges for about four
evidence presented at her trial in August, she had been drinking for a
good part of the day before she and a companion, John Gonzales,
decided to rob Garcia. Gonzales previously pleaded guilty to attempted
armed robbery and was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
who interviewed Guinevere Garcia earlier this year testified during
the sentencing hearing that her father abandoned the family when she
was born and that her mother was an alcoholic who died in a fall from
a second floor window when Garcia was 14 months old.
She was raised
by her grandparents and said an uncle sexually molested her from the
time she was 6 until she was a teenager, said the psychiatrist, Dr.
that Garcia suffers from chronic depression and from borderline
personality disorder to a degree that is just short of legal insanity.
Nelligan said Friday, "Under the law, the defendant is legally
responsible for her actions. No one else is at fault for her action."
At the time of her daughter's death, Guinevere Garcia was 18 and on
supervision for a prostitution conviction. The incident occurred just
after she argued with a boyfriend.
At the time,
authorities accepted her claim that the baby accidentally suffocated
while playing with the plastic bag. Almost four years later to the
day, she confessed to Chicago police officer George Graham and to
Terry Chiganos, then a Cook County prosecutor and now a defense
attorney, that she killed the child because she feared her
grandparents would have her declared an unfit mother and get custody
of the child.
She also was
convicted of two fires in 1980 and two more in 1981, which all
occurred around the anniversary of the baby's death. Three of the
fires were in Chicago apartments where she was living, and one was in
her grandparents' apartment in Chicago.
Wife Stands Trial For Man's Death
By Art Barnum - ChicagoTribune.com
August 5, 1992
was either a 32-year-old woman who coldly planned and carried out the
murder of her 60-year-old husband last summer with the help of a
boyfriend, or accidentally shot him to death while protecting herself.
Those were the
versions of George Garcia`s death offered by prosecutors and defense
attorneys Tuesday as a jury began hearing evidence against his wife.
Garcia was shot
in the front seat of his pickup truck in the parking lot of his
condominium at 920 W. Irving Park Rd., Bensenville, in the early
morning hours of July 23, 1991.
had moved out the previous week after less than a month of marriage,
the second time the couple had been wed.
"He was crazy
about her, but she wanted nothing to do with him except get his
possessions and his $15,000 insurance policy," said prosecutor Kathryn
Creswell. "She took a handgun and blew a hole in his chest while they
talked and showed no remorse, no tears."
Riggs, the defense attorney, said his client will take the stand and
tell "what really went on in the truck, the struggle and how she
accidentally shot her husband."
body was found by a passerby, and Guinevere Garcia initially claimed
to have no knowledge of the incident, according to police
Later the next
day, they said, she called from a Chicago tavern and said she had
heard her boyfriend, John Gonzales, 28, say he had killed her husband.
But after further questioning, she admitted firing the shot, according
to Bensenville police.
acknowledged driving Guinevere Garcia to the parking lot, has since
pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery of the victim, and has been
sentenced to 7 years in the state prison. He is expected to be testify
as a prosecution witness later this week.
that his client initally lied to police about the circumstances of the
shooting, but contended, "Many people in similar situations would have
done the same thing."
Wife Who Killed Baby Held In Husband's Death
By Joseph Sjostrom - ChicagoTribune.com
July 26, 1991
convicted of murdering her baby daughter in 1977 and later convicted
of setting four fires in Chicago apartment buildings has been indicted
in Du Page County in connection with the death of her husband.
Falakassa Garcia, 32, of 3706 N. Spaulding Ave., Chicago, was charged
along with John Gonzalez, 28, of 2958 W. Nelson St., Chicago, with
murder following the fatal shooting of George Garcia, 60, on Tuesday
The Du Page
County charges were contained in an indictment returned by the grand
jury on Wednesday and made available on Thursday.
and Gonzalez were being held in the Du Page County Jail in Wheaton.
Garcia was also
charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. That charge
is based on an Illinois law that prohibits people convicted of a
felony from possessing a firearm.
police in 1977 that her 11-month-old daughter, Sara Swan, had
accidentally suffocated on a plastic clothing bag. Fire Department
paramedics took the girl to Ravenswood Hospital, where doctors tried
to revive her but failed, according to accounts given by authorities
at the time.
However, in 1981
Garcia was charged with the murder of the infant and also with four
counts of arson for setting fires in three Northwest Side Chicago
apartment buildings. Two of those fires occurred in the building where
she lived in the month following her baby`s death; the other two fires
were in buildings where she lived near the time of the third and
fourth anniversaries of the death.
In 1981, Garcia
told police investigating the arsons that she could lead them to the
grave of a prostitute who had been killed by her pimp, according to
authorities. She took police to a cemetery plot in the southwest
suburbs, but when investigators checked cemetery records, they
discovered that the plot was occupied by Garcia`s deceased daughter.
Following an investigation, she admitted killing her daughter and
setting the fires. She pleaded guilty in 1982 in Cook County Circuit
Court, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and was released on parole
It is not known
when she married George Garcia, said Bensenville Police Chief Michael
Toomey. Toomey said they had not been living together recently. On
Tuesday, Guinevere Garcia and Gonzalez encountered George Garcia in
the parking lot of the apartment building where he lived at 920 W.
Irving Park Rd., Bensenville, and Guinevere Garcia used Gonzalez`s
handgun to shoot her husband, Toomey said.
Toomey said the
shooting appeared to be financially motivated, but he said police have
not determined exactly how Garcia expected to benefit from the death.
investigators interviewed Garcia and Gonzalez Tuesday in the
Bensenville police station. Then later Tuesday, Garcia called police
from a tavern at Kedzie Avenue and Grace Street in Chicago and implied
she could implicate Gonzalez in the shooting, Toomey said.
up Garcia and Gonzalez at the tavern and brought them to the
Bensenville police station, where they were questioned and then
charged in the shooting.
SEX: F RACE: H TYPE: T MOTIVE:
MO: Killed her daughter (1977) and
elderly husband (1991).
DISPOSITION: 20 years on guilty plea
to daughter's death, 1982 (paroled 1991); condemned, 1992 (commuted to
Guinevere Falakassa Garcia