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EXCLUSIVE: Man says despite guilty plea he did not cause son's death

By: Whitney Burks, Katie Roach Email
By: Whitney Burks, Katie Roach Email
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UPDATE 5/17/13

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - He says he failed as a father.

James Garcia is serving a five year sentence after taking a plea deal for the 2011 death of his 4-year-old son Cameron Mullins.

Mountain News talked to Garcia exclusively Friday who says despite the deal he was not responsible.

"They said that I killed the child, but I'm here to tell you I didn't. I failed as a father I guess is the only thing that I could say," he said.

Garcia sits behind bars sentenced to five years in jail after pleading guilty to reckless homicide for the death of his son. He was originally facing manslaughter charges.

"I did get my one chance, and I guess I blew it. That's all I can say," he said.

Coroner's reports showed Mullins died from blunt force trauma, but Garcia claims he was at work when it happened and his live-in girlfriend Cindee Collins was watching the child.

"I let the child down. I wasn't there for him. I guess I should have sat there and watched him 24/7, but I put her trust in him," Garcia said.

Garcia says he entered the guilty plea to the amended charge of reckless homicide because he felt he needed to take responsibility for the death of his child even though he did not cause it.

"I took the deal because I felt that I should step up as a man and assume responsibility. The child is dead. The child died. Not at my hands. Ok?" he said.

Garcia says he was not surprised when tempers flared during his sentencing.

"I lost a child and she lost a child. I understand that. It hurts. I mean I hurt every day. Don't think that I don't," he said.

He says all he can do now is serve his time and try to move forward.

Garcia received a five year sentence with credit for time served.

Jail officials say he has spent 560 days in jail.

Cindee Collins was also facing manslaughter charges for Mullins' death.

She took a plea deal earlier in the case.

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SALYERSVILLE, Ky (WYMT) - Tempers flared in a Magoffin County courtroom Thursday afternoon.

James Garcia was originally charged with first degree manslaughter in connection with the death of his son 4-year-old Cameron Mullins.

A plea deal reduced that charge to reckless homicide with a 16-month sentence, but the judge did not accept it.

The case first began two years ago when 4-year-old Cameron Mullins died from what the coroner called blunt force trauma.

Cameron's father James Garcia and his live-in girlfriend at the time Cindy Collins were both charged with manslaughter.

She took a plea deal earlier in the case, and recently Garcia pleaded guilty to reckless homicide charges in a deal with the Commonwealth to serve 16 months

The judge said she could not accept that offer and sentenced Garcia to the maximum five year sentence.

The judge said Garcia showed no remorse through the proceedings, but Garcia's mom disagrees.

"He doesn't cry a lot, but when he does he cries alone in jail. I go and visit him twice a week, and every time we talk about Cameron he starts crying," said Judy Garcia.

Garcia's mother still claims he is innocent, but Cameron's great aunt feels it was not enough time.

"Forget me, forget his mom, nobody knows what his brother went through. That was his best friend, that's all he's ever had in his entire life," said Teresa Holbrook.

The judge said the court was saddened by this case, and there is nothing that can be done to fix the brokenness.

Garcia will get credit for time served.

During the hearing, Cameron's mother testified. As she went back to her seat, she lunged at Garcia and cursed at him.


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