Killer’s conviction, death sentence upheld in 2006 WBR slaying

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction and death sentence of Michael J. Garcia in the 2006 fatal stabbing of a homeless man in West Baton Rouge Parish, District Attorney Ricky Ward reported Thursday.

Garcia, 34, of Lansing, Mich., was convicted and sentenced to death in June 2008 for the first-degree murder of Matthew Millican in a Port Allen wooded area near the south end of La. 415.

The 18th Judicial District Court sentence was upheld by the Louisiana Supreme Court in November. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Garcia case was issued June 24.

According to court records, Garcia and two other men kidnapped and brutalized Millican and his girlfriend, Megan Teresi, at knifepoint in Port Allen.

Daniel Lee Garcia, Michael Garcia’s 41-year-old brother, also of Lansing, Mich., pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

A third defendant, James Edward “Fat Boy” Nelson II, of Gibsonton, Fla., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, three counts of forcible rape, second-degree kidnapping and armed robbery.

Nelson, who testified against Michael Garcia at trial, was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Teresi testified at the trial that the three defendants beat and hog-tied Millican before making him watch them rape her.

In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Garcia claimed the public defenders appointed to serve as his defense attorneys had a “conflict of interest” in representing him and his co-defendants because the attorneys all worked for Louisiana’s 18th Judicial District.

Ward said in a news release the state proved to the high court there was no conflict of interest because all the public defenders practiced as independent contractors separate from one another despite working in the same office.