Man receives sentencing for 2013 Visalia double murder

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Eight years have gone by, but Joanne Crist says the murder of her sister is a wound that will never heal.

In court on Wednesday, she had a chance to channel some of that pain when she read her victim impact statement at the sentencing of Reyes Garcia.

As part of a plea deal to avoid the death penalty, Garcia admitted to murdering Marie Rogers and Jerry Murillo earlier this year.

The couple was found dead at their Visalia home in July of 2013. Crist says her sister's throat had been slit.

"I cannot understand why the defendant would murder a woman who showed him and his family nothing but kindness," Crist said. "Marie was so physically weak that she could not have mounted a significant defense. Why did he have to kill her? What could have been his motivations?

Crist, who says her sister let Garcia live at her home, still doesn't know the true motive behind the grisly crime.

Her sister, she says, would have given Garcia any of the items he stole after the murders.

Besides being overly generous, she described her sister as loving, trusting, and optimistic.

She told Garcia she doesn't hate him, explaining that would require her to acknowledge that he is human.

"In my opinion, the defendant deserves to suffer as my sister did," Crist said. "Luckily for him, he has more rights than Marie did. It's bad enough that my tax dollars will go to house, clothe, feed, and medicate Mr. Garcia for decades."

After Crist finished, a Tulare County judge read Garcia's sentence -- two terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole -- one for each victim.

Tulare County prosecutors say his punishment was long overdue.

"It dragged out at every level," says Tulare County Assistant District Attorney David Alavezos. "It is good that we at least got it done today."

Reyes' co-defendant, Adrian Castillon, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole back in 2015.

Two women were also sent to prison that year for their involvement in the crime.
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