COLORADO SPRINGS — A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in the deaths of two Coronado High School students in 2017.
“Two innocent children who had their whole life ahead of them and it was only worth 30 years. That’s sad. Very sad,” said Tamara Partida, the mother of Natalie Partida. “I don’t think it’s justice but, it’s the only justice we’re going to get in Bravo’s case.”
Marco Garcia-Bravo was sentenced Monday, after agreeing to a plea deal in a case the District Attorney’s office calls “difficult at best.” The deal came after a jury deadlocked on his original trial earlier this year.
Garcia-Bravo was accused of killing 15-year-old Derek Greer and 16-year-old Natalie Partida in March 2017. The victims’ bodies were found near Pikes Peak International Raceway.
“To have to see your kid with bullet holes in their face. To see that of your firstborn child,” said Heather Ferguson, Derek’s mother, in her statement to the court. “He was kind to everybody. How can someone kill a kid they don’t even know.”
Ferguson was “floored” at the 30 year sentence, and said she thought it was unfair.
Garcia-Bravo’s first jury trial ended February 8, when the jury was unable to agree on five of the 15 charges filed against him. Partida said she was told witnesses in the case were talking in the jail, soiling chances of a conviction in a second trial. He’s one of ten people to be charged in this case, the District Attorney’s office says three more still need to be sentenced for their role in the murders.
“You want to do what’s best for the families, but you also are weighted on what’s best for the community or the State of Colorado,” said Howard Black, a spokesperson for the 4th DA’s office.
Garcia-Bravo agreed to a plea deal last week, and a judge accepted it Monday. In the deal, he pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. Each count carries a sentence of 15 years in prison, plus mandatory parole.
In the original trial, the jury convicted Garcia-Bravo of accessory to crime. That conviction comes with a six-year sentence.
“To me it was very clear: He’s guilty. He knows he’s guilty. We know he’s guilty,” Partida said.
The two 15-year sentences will be consecutive, with the six-year sentence served concurrently. More than 1,400 days of pretrial confinement will count for time served.
For Partida, she doesn’t yet feel closure, but hopes she can still heal.
“I hope through this time that [Garcia-Bravo] finds God and asks for forgiveness,” she said. “I don’t want to hold on to that anger every day. I want to pray that God will forgive him and God will touch his heart.”