FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): A belligerent Jennifer Garcia, charged with the outlandish and near-fatal torture of a 3-year-old boy, cursed the victim’s grieving family during a hearing Monday.
Her obscenity-laced outburst came at the end of a preliminary hearing during which family members of the victim wiped away tears as they listened to West Allis police describe the violence investigators say the child endured last month while in Garcia’s care.
Veteran prosecutor Matthew Torbenson told Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet that the abuse and emotional torment Garcia inflicted on her boyfriend’s son reached “a level of depravity I have never seen.”
At one point during the hearing, Garcia laughed at the testimony.
After the hearing, about a dozen members of the victim’s family, visibly shaken and shocked, gathered in the hallway outside Dallet’s fifth-floor courtroom. They embraced each other and wept.
Family members were still attempting to comfort each other in the Milwaukee County Courthouse hallway when a side door to Dallet’s courtroom opened and guards led Garcia to a nearby elevator.
Just before the elevator doors closed, Garcia again launched a string of obscenities at the child’s family.
Dallet ordered Garcia, who is charged with 13 counts of child abuse and witness intimidation, to be held on $250,000 bail and set a hearing for July 18.
FULL TEXT (After 2 of 2): On June 17, according to a criminal complaint, Jennifer Garcia asked a neighbor to help her wash some dishes at her West Allis home.
The neighbor later told Milwaukee police that while she was there, Garcia called a 3-year-old boy — her boyfriend’s child — into the kitchen.
“Watch this,” Garcia told the neighbor.
Garcia, the neighbor told police, told the boy to stand in the corner and remove his shirt. The boy immediately began to cry.
The boy then removed his shirt, revealing a back marked with what the neighbor believed were cigarette burns. Garcia, the neighbor said, called out to the boy’s 10-year-old sister, ordering her to bring Garcia her cigarettes and lighter.
When the boy began to cry louder, the neighbor told police, Garcia slapped him across the face.
The criminal complaint, which charges Garcia with nine counts of felony child abuse and four counts of witness intimidation, does not indicate if the neighbor called child protective services.
Four days passed before a visitor, horrified by the boy’s condition, called rescue workers to Garcia’s home.
The boy lay on the floor, exhibiting a symptom of extreme brain injury called “decorticate posturing:” He was stiff, his arms were bent, his fists were clenched to his chest and his legs were held out straight.
Rescue workers rushed the boy to surgery at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
Hemorrhaging pushed his brain to one side of his skull. His body was covered with scrapes and bruises the complaint said were too numerous to count. His face appeared to have been burned. His liver was lacerated.
Garcia told police that boy had slipped in the kitchen and banged his head on a chair. According to the complaint, Garcia attempted to persuade several people to support her story.
The boy’s 10-year-old sister, however, told police that Garcia had been beating the boy for days. She said Garcia beat the boy with her sandal until it broke and whipped him with a belt when he cried.
On June 20, the girl told police, Garcia put the boy in the corner and then beat him with her fist. The child vomited.
As the girl went to get cleaning supplies, she heard Garcia tell the boy, “I’m going to beat you like you’ve never been beaten before.”
The girl said she then heard a loud boom and saw the boy slip from a chair and onto the floor.
The boy survived his surgery, the complaint says, but remains near death in the pediatric intensive care unit.
He is mechanically ventilated, paralyzed and sedated. It is unknown, the complaint says, if the boy will survive or, if he does, what his long-term prognosis might be.
If convicted on all counts, Garcia, 32, faces 175 years in prison. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday.
For more cases, see: Women Who Like to Torture