For four days, Galveston County jurors have contemplated the fate of a Galveston man accused in a stabbing death during a house party in 2016, and for four days the parties involved have gone without an answer.
Jurors were again unable to reach a verdict Wednesday in the case of Richard Lee Garcia, 29, who is charged with murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection to the death of Cole Hardeman, 20, and the severe wounding of another man.
Judge Kerry Neves on Wednesday told The Daily News that jurors have asked several questions since the trial concluded, but have not given an indication they’re deadlocked.
“We’re just in a holding pattern until they tell us something,” Neves said. “They’ve sent out a number of questions and notes, but they have not yet said the magic words indicating they cannot reach a verdict. If it comes, we’ll certainly deal with it.”
Attorneys for both sides gave their closing arguments in Garcia’s case early Friday and then jurors had all afternoon that day to deliberate on the case, Neves said. Jurors resumed deliberations all day Monday and Tuesday, and then began again starting at about 11 a.m. Wednesday.
It is unclear what, exactly, has jurors struggling to reach a verdict. But prosecutors and defense attorneys, during testimony, laid out diverging versions of events leading up to the stabbing death.
Prosecutors allege Garcia pulled out a knife and stabbed people after being asked to leave the house party, but Garcia, in interviews with investigators after the party and through his defense attorneys, argues he was attacked and only pulled out his knife in self-defense.
Garcia attended a house party along with his brother and girlfriend in the 4200 block of Avenue S, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Garcia and his brother were asked to leave the party, but later returned and fought with an unknown number of others, according to the affidavit.
During that fight, Hardeman sustained a cut to the abdomen and a puncture wound in his chest, which hit his heart, ultimately causing his death, according to the affidavit.
But Garcia told police he was knocked to the ground during the fight and, after pulling his pocket knife while laying on the ground, began swinging his arms from side to side, but was not instigating the fight, according to the affidavit.
Investigators reported finding a knife in a grassy area of the sidewalk near the house and another knife in a driveway, according to the affidavit.
— Matt deGrood