Wearing a black and white prison uniform, leg shackles and a smile, Frank James Webb, 27, entered the 266th Judicial District courtroom Friday morning and pleaded guilty to the April 16, 2007 slayings of Carlos and Lucia Garcia.
Standing next to his court-appointed attorney, Tim Moore of Fort Worth, Webb pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 30 years.
District Attorney John Terrill said he is satisfied with the agreement that he believes will keep Webb locked up for the rest of his natural life.
“I don’t see Webb leaving the penitentiary during his lifetime,” Terrill said Friday, following the sentencing.
Terrill said the victims’ family wanted to see both Webb and his alleged accomplice, Ricardo Rodriguez, executed for the crime, but agreed to the plea deal after prosecutors explained to them the risks of going to trial. Despite compelling evidence against Webb, Terrill said he wanted to be “certain” the defendant received the maximum sentence.
“We did not want to take the risk of a jury reaching a different verdict than what we expected,” Terrill said of the decision to offer a deal.
By agreeing to the plea deal, Webb waived his right to an appeal.
It has been a little more than a year since Carlos Rios Garcia, 46, and his wife, Lucia Garcia, 41, were discovered dead in their home. The couple had been tied up and shot in the head. Their 8-year-old son, who was awakened by his crying 2-year-old sibling on the morning of April 16, first discovered the bodies.
Terrill said the children are now being raised by family members.
An intense investigation led by Erath County Sheriff’s investigator Larry Wand and Texas Ranger Joe Hutson had Webb and Rodriguez behind bars within days of the murders.
On April 23, 2007, Rodriguez gave a statement to investigators confessing to the crime and implicating Webb.
Webb, who has a prior criminal history, had never been convicted of a violent crime. He was scheduled to go to trial in June. Terrill would not release a possible motive for the crime or offer any evidence that might have been presented during the trial, saying the case against Rodriguez is still pending.
Terrill did say that among the many witnesses who might have been called to testify against Webb was Joseph Scott Hatley. Hatley pleaded guilty in October to killing a Stephenville woman in 1987. Terrill said Webb and Hatley briefly shared a cell in the Erath County Jail and that Webb made statements to Hatley “that implicated him in the crime.”
“Webb gave information (to Hatley) about the crime that was not made public. It was information that would have only been known by someone who was there,” Terrill said.