Bloomington man pleads guilty to murder, sentenced to 13 years in prison

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Sept. 9, 2013 at 4:09 a.m.
Updated Sept. 10, 2013 at 4:10 a.m.

A Bloomington man was sentenced to 13 years in prison Monday after he pleaded guilty to murder.

Pilar Lee Garcia Jr., 24, was charged with stabbing Billy Baladez in the heart with a folding pocket knife with a 31/2-inch blade in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2012.

Garcia's attorney, Elliott H. Costas, could not be reached for comment.

Eddie Wilkinson, an assistant district attorney, said he felt the agreement was fair.

"The issue at trial would have been whether or not he (Garcia) was defending himself," Wilkinson said. "There were also a lot of people who were interviewed as part of this investigation who were clearly being dishonest."

Some of the eyewitnesses to the stabbing and the moments that led up to it said Baladez met Garcia to fight possibly about money in the 100 block of Shepley Street in Bloomington, he said.

"The evidence was that Mr. Baladez was on top of Mr. Garcia and had his hands around his throat at the time of the stabbing," Wilkinson said.

A photograph taken by investigators showed a mark on Garcia's throat, he said.

Investigators interviewed 16 people, and although it is unclear what the men's relationship was, Wilkinson said they knew of each other and frequented the same places.

Wilkinson also considered the outcome of a case with a defendant named Donnell Deshaun Dilworth Jr.

A jury found Dilworth, 23, guilty of murder in the shooting death of Jerry Paul James and sentenced him to seven years in prison in August.

Unlike this case, Dilworth and his co-defendant, Dedrick Roy Bonner, went to the victim. But Dilworth and Garcia are both young and did not have an extensive criminal background, Wilkinson said.

"We overcame the self defense issue in my case (involving Dilworth and Bonner)," Criminal District Attorney Stephen Tyler added. "The facts which make a crime and the perpetrator unique differ from case to case."



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