General Crime

* Henry Don Williams was sentenced 50 years to life in prison for killing Councilman Matt Garcia from Fairfield

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 Family members of slain Fairfield City Councilman Matt Garcia wanted his convicted killer, Henry Don Williams, to admit responsibility for the murder at his sentencing this morning, but Williams offered only his sorrow and condolences for their loss.
    Just before he was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for the Sept. 1, 2008, fatal shooting of the 22-year old councilman in Cordelia, Williams told the grieving family, “I can’t express how I feel about your pain and loss and I am deeply, deeply sorry.”
    Five of Garcia’s family members and Fairfield Mayor Harry Price addressed the 34-year-old defendant.  “Our prayer is that you step up to the plate and take responsibility,” Garcia’s stepfather Ray Courtemanche said. “Stop hiding behind the Bible and come out with the truth. Be a godly man and say I’m sorry. But I know you can’t admit to it,” Garcia’s father Matt Garcia said. “You have an opportunity to be a better example for those who run afoul of the law,” Price said. Williams remained stoic during the emotional comments. Only after Garcia’s mother, Teresa Courtemanche, told Williams that he also ruined his own young son’s life did he appear close to losing his composure. He looked at the ground and wiped his mouth, then spoke briefly with his attorney, Deputy Public Defender John Mendenhall, who again claimed this morning during a failed bid for a new trial that Williams’ co-defendant
Gene Combs actually shot Garcia. Williams said Mendenhall advised him not to say much, but Williams said he insisted on speaking anyway. “I am deeply sorry for your loss. My condolences and grief go out to your family,” he said. “I have a son. I missed his birth, his first bath, his first words and everything I want to provide for him,” Williams said, stopping short of acknowledging his role in the killing. Williams’ son will turn 2 in late September, he said.  Williams and Combs went to a home on Silverado Drive in Cordelia
on the night of the murder to find a drug dealer who owed Combs $50 for methamphetamine Combs never received, according to testimony at their trials in May. When Garcia drove by in his Cadillac on the way to visit a female friend on Silverado Drive, Williams believed Garcia was the drug dealer, according to trial testimony. Combs stayed in the parked Dodge Intrepid, driven by Williams’
girlfriend Nicole Stewart, and Williams got out of the car and fired eight shots at Garcia, striking him once in the head, according to the trial testimony. Garcia was kept on life support for several days after the shooting, and his family donated seven of his organs.
    Combs, 47, was convicted of second-degree murder and faces 15 years to life in prison. His sentencing is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 27. Williams was sentenced to 25 years to life for first-degree murder, plus a consecutive 25-years-to-life term for having served a prior state prison term. 
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