Garcia receives maximum sentence allowed
ECTOR COUNTY, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- A jury of 12 sentenced Angelica Garcia, 38, to 40 years in prison, as well as assessed a $10,000 fine, for the 2019 deaths of six-year-old twins, Mia and Mya Coy. On July 3 of that year, Garcia had drinks at a bar off Highway 80, then got behind the wheel of her car and drove through a barrier at the end of the E Highway 80 Service Road. The Coy sisters were playing in a field just beyond the road while their family worked at a firework stand.
On Wednesday, Garcia changed her plea to guilty on two counts of Intoxicated Manslaughter. According to sentencing guidelines, Garcia faced no less than two years, but no more than 20 years behind bars for each count. Judge Denn Whalen said Garcia would also be eligible for probation if the jury decided not to give her prison time.
Prior to deciding Garcia’s punishment, the jury heard testimony from expert witnesses as well as family. On Thursday morning, Mia and Mya’s parents were called to the stand.
Mother Agueda Coy said her girls loved fireworks and were excited to visit the stand that night. Their favorite fireworks were the “poppers”.
“They found it hilarious to throw them at someone’s feet and see them react to it,” she said.
The family arrived at the stand sometime between 8:30 and 8:45 that night, just a few minutes before Garcia left the bar. Agueda said her girls ate some watermelon when they arrived and were playing with their cousins when they were run over. She recalled the moment their lives changed forever
“I heard someone say watch out for the car, here comes a car. I jumped up and didn’t know where the car was coming from,” she testified.
Agueda said she started running toward her children but as she ran, Garcia’s car sped past, kicking up a cloud of dirt.
“I saw Mia in the air, and I changed my direction, running to her,” she said.
Agueda said she began performing CPR on Mia, who was unconscious and had no pulse.
“At that point, Mya hadn’t even crossed my mind,” she said through tears.
That is until she heard someone ask where Mya was. Moments later, a family member walked up carrying an unconscious Mya.
“Her face was blue, her lips…I’m questioning myself; do I stop working on Mia and work on Mya?” Agueda, a registered nurse, said.
Agueda’s husband, Raul Coy Jr. had been trained to administer CPR just weeks before and he began trying to help Mya. Agueda said she and Raul performed CPR until ambulances arrived.
Raul also took the stand Thursday and recalled the events of that night for the jury.
“I see Mia get hit. I see her fly through the air, so I yelled for her, and I ran. I don’t know why, but I thought Mya had gotten out of the way. Then I feel a tap on my shoulder and look to the side and my sister had Mya. Her lips were purple. When I saw her, I just looked up at the sky and said, not her too. Not her too,” Raul said through tears. “I hugged Mya. I told her that I loved her, and I just kept yelling for God not to take my daughters.”
After a long wait at the hospital, the parents were told their daughters had died. Both Agueda and Raul described the moments as excruciating, both paced the floor and waited for answers.
When the doctors broke the news, both said they were in shock.
“I looked the doctor in the eye, and I said are you sure you’re talking about my daughters. I couldn’t believe it,” Raul said.
According to Raul, the doctors said there was nothing more they could do for the girls; the parents were allowed to see their children and were then told to go home.
“That was the hardest thing I ever had to see, the tubes in my daughters, they were motionless. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, saying goodbye to them. I didn’t want to leave. How do you go home,” he said.
“We weren’t able to bring our babies home,” Agueda said.
Both parents described their daughters as beautiful and full of smiles and hugs for everyone they met.
“Those girls were something else,” Raul said. “Their bond that they had was amazing, they were always together. They never knew a stranger. They were just full of smiles and hugs. My girls…my beautiful girls.”
With that, the State rested its case. And after a short recess, the defense called Garcia to the stand.
Garcia began her testimony by saying she has been working at a local church since the deadly crash and that she had had no issues with the terms of her supervised release. Garcia has been required to wear a GPS monitor on one ankle and an alcohol monitor on the other since she was released from jail in 2019. She told jurors that she felt she would be able to follow the rules of probation if granted.
As for probation, the prosecuting team asked Garcia if she felt 41 days in jail, the amount of time Garica spend behind bars after the crash, was punishment enough.
“You think 41 days is all you should have to do?”
While Garcia told the court she feels embarrassed and ashamed for what she has done, she also disputed the prosecutor’s claim that she had at least seven drinks that night and instead said she only had three.
“I remember how much I had to drink. Without a doubt in my mind,” she said on cross examination.
Prosecutors responded by replaying the video footage of Garcia in the bar. And although Garcia admitted to being drunk, she stood by her testimony.
Garcia also testified that a portable light near the firework stand caused confusion while she was driving near the end of the service road and that the light was the reason she didn’t realize the road had come to an end. Prosecutor Melissa Williams then asked, “Are you trying to tell this jury that this crash happened because of a light?”
To that, Garcia replied, “No, I’m taking responsibility”.
Near the end of her testimony, Garcia admitted to running the stop sign and jumping the curb. She admitted her car went air born and that she hit one twin and then the other, at 62 miles per hour. And she admitted she didn’t hit her breaks until just before she slammed into the portable light near the firework stand. However, she also told the court she never intended to kill anyone.
To close, Garcia’s attorney, Michael McLeish called the case “one of the greatest tragedies” he’d ever seen in his years practicing law. He said the lives of the families on both sides of the courtroom had already been shattered by Garcia’s “tragic mistake” but said his client should not be defined by a single moment. He called on jurors and spectators alike to offer Garcia forgiveness.
“I am asking you for forgiveness. Christian forgiveness,” he said to jurors. “Not only by you but by all the people in this courtroom. People everywhere. Her life is devastated. Her life is ruined.”
Prosecutors then argued Garcia never truly accepted responsibility for the deaths of Mia and Mya. To close, Williams replayed video from the bar, where Garcia was seen dancing and taking a sip of a drink at 8:41 that evening. She then showed a snippet of body cam video that showed, only eight minutes later, an unconscious and mortally wounded twin being carried away to an awaiting ambulance.
Williams then held up a single white shoe, one that had been found by investigators while they mapped Garcia’s destructive path through that field at the end of the service road.
“This shoe marked the last place a six-year-old child drew her last breath on this earth.”
With that, Williams asked the jury to impose the maximum sentence allowed by law. It took one hour for the jury to decide to do just that. According to Judge Whalen, Garcia’s sentences must be served back-to-back. Which means she must serve one before the other can begin. And while she might be eligible for parole one day, Garcia must serve at least half her sentence before going before the Parole Board.
Upon hearing the jury’s decision to sentence Garcia to a collective 40 years in prison, mother Agueda spoke to Garcia from the witness stand. She said in part, “July 3, 2019, replays in my mind every day. That day our world collapsed. You took away two loving daughters. Our sentence started July 3 and it will continue until we take our last breath.”