Anthony Garcia's conviction last week of first-degree murder with gang enhancements was the result of some observant detective work and Garcia's lack of common sense.
The path leading to Garcia's conviction began in August of 2008. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Detective Sgt. Kevin Lloyd was looking through photos of gang members' tattoos when he noticed a tattoo on the chest of Garcia that looked just like a murder scene he remembered from when he worked as a sergeant at Pico Rivera Sheriff's Station in 2004.
The tattoo depicted a victim being shot and a liquor store in the background, and had details such as a street light that brought back memories.
Sgt. Lloyd found that the photo of Garcia's chest had been taken in March of 2008 by Dep. Mario Chairez of the Pico Rivera Sheriff's Station graffiti team. Dep. Chairez had taken several pictures of Anthony Garcia's tattoos after he was arrested and booked at Pico Rivera Station for driving with a suspended driver's license.
Sgt. Lloyd looked up an unsolved murder case of the fatal shooting of John Juarez, a 23-year-old Pico Rivera resident, in front of Ed's Liquor in Pico Rivera on Jan. 23, 2004.
He compared the crime scene photos with the photo of the tattoo on Garcia's chest. The tattoo window and frames of the store are similar to the crime scene photo of the liquor store; even the tattoo line on the roof represents the Christmas lights.
The tattoo also shows a peanut man being shot then falling down face down. A helicopter is depicted shooting the peanut man.
The gang nickname of Anthony Garcia is "Chopper" (a common slang for a helicopter), and Garcia's gang refers to members of their rival gang as "peanuts."
The direction that the shots were actually fired matched those in the tattoo. Also, the tattoo's street light and sign to the left of the liquor store resemble the corner at the scene of the murder.
The words "Rivera Kills" appear above the scene on the tattoo. Rivera-13 is the name of Garcia's gang.
Sgt. Lloyd enlisted the aid of sheriff's Major Crimes Bureau investigators and was able to locate Garcia, who was living with relatives in La Habra. While in the station jail he confessed, and was booked for murder.