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June 20, 2006 – Teenager Is Released After Establishing Alibi in Montgomery County.

WHEATON SLAYING

Teenager Is Released After Establishing Alibi

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, June 20, 2006  

Montgomery County prosecutors dropped murder and assault charges yesterday against an 18-year-old Silver Spring man arrested in the May 10 fatal beating of a 30-year-old man.

Jose Garcia’s attorney, Andrew Jezic, said the charges were dropped after he pieced together a “nearly airtight” alibi for his client, including errands Garcia was running that day to buy a Mother’s Day gift.

“I missed my graduation,” Garcia, a Wheaton High School graduate, said yesterday in an interview shortly after his release. “Supposedly, someone said my name” to police. “I have no idea who said my name.”

Garcia was arrested June 1 in the beating of Josue A. Lagos-Rivera of Silver Spring, whom police initially identified as Roque J. Rivera.

Four other people remain charged in the case. Garcia had been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault.

Montgomery County Deputy State’s Attorney John McCarthy said a witness’s identification of Garcia as one of the assailants seemed dubious to authorities after further investigation.

“We didn’t feel probable cause continued to exist, and we thought it was inappropriate for him to remain in custody,” McCarthy said.

Police said in a charging document that an unidentified witness incriminated Garcia in the fight.

Jezic said Garcia’s alibi included e-mails, an ATM transaction, a letter from his principal indicating what time he had left school, a statement from a classmate with whom he walked home and the recollection of his 9-year-old brother who saw him hug his mother at home to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. May 10 was Mother’s Day in El Salvador, Garcia’s homeland.

Police found Lagos-Rivera’s body early May 11 at Wheaton Forest Park in the 1700 block of University Boulevard. Four people are charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the case: Wayne A. Davis, 18, of Silver Spring; brothers Robert Goodwin Jr., 17, and Antonio D. Goodwin, 18, both of Silver Spring; and a 15-year-old male who has not been identified because he was charged as a juvenile.

Lagos-Rivera died of internal injuries after being punched, kicked and possibly hit on the head with a rock, police said.

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