Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge David Cena delayed ruling on a motion for a new trial for convicted murderer Paul Garcia Thursday afternoon stating he had received the copious documents at 10:30 a.m. today.
During the packed and brief court hearing in Department 34 of the Santa Clara County Courthouse in downtown San Jose, Judge Cena said he had not had a chance to review the motion and said he had advised counsel Wednesday that a new date would be selected Thursday.
A motion to continue the case filed by Garcia's prominent defense attorney, Edward Sousa, was also not ruled upon.
In October of 2010, a jury handed down a guilty verdict for Garcia, finding him to be the main orchestrator of the murder of popular restaurateur Mark Achilli on March 14, 2008. Achilli sold former to Garcia and then authorities say he became involved in a dangerous love triangle that cost him his life.
In a motion to continue the case, Sousa requested footage from surveillance cameras at the former 180 Restaurant & Lounge in Los Gatos, next to , be examined by the judge.
The issue was discussed for several minutes at the bench among Cena, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen—who prosecuted the high-profile murder-for-hire case—and Sousa.
Cena said all parties were in agreement that the matter needed to be postponed for a so-called status determination on the surveillance footage.
Cena set the new hearing for 8:30 a.m., Jan. 13, 2012 in the same department.
Another piece of evidence, which was deemed confidential during Garcia's trial, was also entered as an exhibit in Sousa's 92-page motion for a new trial. Sousa explained that the court had said if he chose to use that certain piece of evidence, it would then have to become public.
"We have decided to use it," Sousa told the judge, who asked Rosen if he objected. Upon Rosen's consent, Cena ruled that the new piece of evidence will now become public.
A shackled Garcia, sitting behind the defendant's table in the courtroom, told the judge he agreed to unseal the Oct. 4, 2010 transcript.
"I request that all three of you work together to make sure that you get any issues related to that CD of surveillance tapes worked out," Cena said.
Addressing the audience, Cena explained there will not be a sentencing on Jan. 13 nor will Garcia's motion for new trial be heard on that date.
"It's a date we'll use to set a date on the motion (for new trial) or sentencing date," Cena said.
More than 30 of Garcia's supporters waited patiently outside department 34 wearing white ribbons on their lapels before the hearing began. Absent from the hearing were many of Achilli's supporters who live in Los Gatos. Many had heard on Wednesday that the hearing was going to be postponed.
Among those attending the hearing today were Garcia's mother, family members and friends who knew him from his days as a student at Bellarmine College Preparatory.
Most Garcia supporters declined comment. John Murphy, a Jesuit priest who was principal at Bellarmine when Garcia studied there, said he was attending to support his family.
"He has always shown himself to me to be a man of integrity and goodness," Murphy said. "I make no judgement on the case, but I do say that my history with him (Garcia) has always been graced."