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Published: Saturday, 8/13/2005

Sandusky County man walks free after judge drops multiple charges

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Sandusky County man accused of sexually assaulting his pregnant girlfriend to deliberately cause her to suffer a miscarriage walked out of Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday with no charges pending against him.

Later, Gregorio Garcia emerged from the county jail into the stifling heat, proclaiming his innocence and accusing the woman of fabricating the story to get him arrested for crimes he did not commit.

"This was a made-up story. I didn't do what she said I did," Mr. Garcia said.

His parents, Theresa Garcia and Manuel Garcia, embraced their son at the back doors of the jail.

The couple had driven from Green Springs, Ohio, for yesterday's court hearing and waited outside the jail so they could take their son home.

At the request of prosecutors, Judge Ruth Ann Franks dismissed one count each of murder, rape, and aggravated burglary against Mr. Garcia, 23, who had been in the jail since April 12.

J. Tracy Sniderhan, an assistant county prosecutor, said in a brief statement that the charges were dismissed because of evidentiary concerns and that further delays to bring the case to trial could interfere with Mr. Garcia's constitutional right to a speedy trial.

But Mr. Garcia said the real reason for the dismissal was because he passed a lie detector test with flying colors, and the woman who made the accusations refused to undergo the test.

"I volunteered to take the test from the first day I was in jail. I didn't have anything to hide," Mr. Garcia said.

The girlfriend told investigators that Mr. Garcia forced his way into her Springfield Township apartment on April 11, punched her several times in the stomach, and sexually assaulted her.

She claimed he told her she did not deserve to have his baby, and warned that he would kill her two children, ages 1 and 5, who were in the apartment.

The 25-year-old woman said she suffered a miscarriage of her 10-week-old fetus as a result of the attack in the apartment on West Bancroft Street.

John Thebes, a criminal defense attorney who had been representing Mr. Garcia, said the case against his client was weak, in part, because of the inconsistencies in the woman's statement and issues with her credibility.

"My client cooperated with investigators from the very beginning.

"He pretty much proved that he didn't do what she claimed he did," Mr. Thebes said.

While he was locked up, Mr. Garcia missed many important milestones, including the birthdays of his daughter, who turned 1 year old, and his 2-year-old son.

His stepbrother graduated from Clyde High School and enlisted in the Navy, and Mr. Garcia never had a chance to say good-bye to him.

The woman, who had a temporary protection order against Mr. Garcia, said she received a text message from him on her cell phone five days before the incident that said, "have a miscarriage."

Mr. Garcia admitted that he sent the message, but he said it was taken out of context, and he had no intentions of hurting the girlfriend or the fetus.

The woman could not be reached for comment last night.

She was outside the courtroom, but did not attend the hearing.

Contact Mark Reiter at:

markreiter@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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