Gang member tattoo of murder scene leads to conviction
ABC News | July 18, 2013
LOS ANGELES — Authorities relied on a chest tattoo that depicted the murder scene to apprehend and convict a California gang member for a deadly shooting.
Anthony Garcia, 25, was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder for the 2004 shooting at a liquor store in Pico Rivera. He could face life in prison for the crime when he is sentenced next month.
Garcia had avoided arrest for four years until he was picked up by police for driving with a suspended license in 2008. Because Garcia appeared to be an active member of the Rivera-13 gang, police snapped pictures of his tattoos, along with his mugshot.
Det. Sgt. Kevin Lloyd was looking through pictures of gang members’ tattoos for leads on another crime when one image looked eerily familiar. Lloyd had worked as a sergeant at the Pico Rivera Sheriff’s Station when the murder happened Jan. 23, 2004, at Mr. Ed’s Liquor store.
“I was working on another case about this gang and looking for other examples. … I just see that picture and something struck me.” Lloyd said. “It looked like a murder from way back when.”
Lloyd followed his hunch, driving to the liquor store named on the tattoo and pulling the old case file.
Garcia’s tattoo captured the night of the shooting, from the Christmas lights outside the liquor store to the bent light post in the store’s parking lot to the convalescent home called the Rivera, next door to the liquor store. The scene shows a chopper spraying bullets on a victim. Garcia’s gang nickname is “Chopper.”
The victim, John Juarez, is depicted as a Mr. Peanut. The peanut is commonly used as a symbol of a rival gang in Pico Rivera, Lloyd said. The crime scene is under a tattoo on Garcia’s neck that reads “Rivera Kills.”