Prosecuting attorney Elizabeth York said the state would have been prepared for a similar transactions hearing -- Garcia had been accused of sexually abusing more than one other child -- and the presentation of evidence to a jury, including the male victims' testimony and videos of their forensic interviews.
York agreed to drop two aggravated child molestation counts, and said a former prosecuting attorney "took some time" to indict the case, which resulted from a 2005 referral to Bartow County Sheriff's Office authorities. Garcia was indicted last year.
His attorney, John W. Lovett, said Garcia "takes responsibility for his actions" but has "changed his ways" since 2003 to 2004, when the crimes took place. Smith further ordered Garcia, who could be deported upon the service of five years in prison, to pay a $1,000 fine, have no contact with the victims and a similar transaction's witness, and abide by sex offender regulations.
Smith said Garcia, if deported when released from prison, would be under the terms of probation only if he reentered the country. He had been in the United States legally, according to a motion filed by his attorney, and was detained by immigration authorities pending the outcome of the case.
Jury trial expected
to begin Tuesday
Prosecuting attorneys indicated a jury trial is set to begin today. Kimberly Y. Cole, 27, of Cassville, is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.