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Ventura County Man Admits Role In Two Murders, But Sentence Limited Because Of His Age At Time Of Crimes

Prosecutors lost battle to try him as adult

A Ventura County man has admitted his role in two murders, but prosecutors say because of his age at the time of the crimes his sentence will be limited.

Detectives say Oscar Garcia was involved in the April, 2018 shotting death of Jose Lopez in Oxnard. The say he was also a part of the May, 2018 stabbing death of Adrian Ornelas. Garcia was 15 years old at the time.

Ventura County prosecutors sought to try him as an adult for the killings. However, the state legislature passed a bill in 2018 which prohibited the prosecution of minors as adults in murder cases if they were under 16 at the time of the crime. Several District Attorney's offices around the state challenged the law in court, but in February the State Supreme Court ruled it was constitutional.

Prosecutors say if Garcia had been prosecuted as an adult, he could have received up to 55 years behind bars for the second degree murder admissions. Because he was prosecuted as a juvenile, the 18-year-old can only remain in custody until he is 25. Garcia will be sentenced in July.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.