KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) – A Kenosha man convicted of strangling a woman in 2012 and leaving her body in a cemetery was sentenced to life in prison, and a judge denied the possibility of parole after the man continued to insist he was innocent.
Before Judge Mary Kay Wagner handed down the sentence Monday, she asked Javier Garcia if he had anything to say.
“I did not kill Lisa Mezera,” Garcia replied. “That’s all I got to say.”
A jury concluded otherwise in February, after DNA evidence linked Garcia, 53, to the 26-year-old victim. He was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, which carries a mandatory life sentence. Wagner had the option of allowing the possibility of parole but she didn’t, citing Garcia’s lack of remorse, the Kenosha News reported.
Mezera was found fatally beaten and partially clothed in August 2012, one day after she left her father’s house with Garcia. Her family told the judge even though nearly two years have passed, they continue to struggle for answers.
“One person has been found guilty of the most heinous crime I could ever think of, killing another person,” said Ron Mezera, the victim’s father. “And for what? I don’t know.”
Garcia’s defense attorney, Terry Rose, made no pleas for mercy for his client. He repeated that Garcia is not guilty and that he intends to appeal.