Dad JOHNNNY GARCIA has been sentenced to 44 years in prison for the murder of his disabled 2-year-old son. The mother is also charged, although she was out getting drugs for the dad on his orders at the time of the slaying.
NEW: Man gets 44 years in killing of son
August 04, 2009 12:24 PM
EDWARDSVILLE - A judge Tuesday sentenced Johnny Garcia, 24, of Alton to 44 years in prison in the brutal murder of his disabled 2-year-old son, who lay dying while Garcia was demanding the child's mother go get him drugs.
Pathologist Dr. Raj Nanduri testified that the deceased child, Maxwell Owen Eyer, had injures dating back for some time, but there were four fatal blows to the head. The child would have suffered involuntary muscle contractions, nausea, sleepiness and coma, she said.
The child died Dec. 27, 2007, in the emergency room of Saint Anthony's Hospital, several hours after the injuries were inflicted. There was bleeding into the brain, bruises on several areas of the face, arms legs and chest. There was apparently a broken chest bone that had healed over, the doctor said.
The child's mother, Linsey Eyer, testified Tuesday that the child's babysitter, Jeanine E. Lansdon, of the 400 block of Lincoln Avenue in East Alton, told her she, Lansdon, had seen at least one of the blows.
"She said Johnny slapped him and knocked him to the floor. It sounded like a grapefruit hitting the ground. He was never the same again," Eyer testified. She is also facing murder charges in the case. She said she was not promised anything in exchange for her testimony.
She said Garcia told her nothing had happened to the child and not to take Maxwell to the hospital or dial 911. She looked in vain for a doctor, she said.
She said later, after finding the child stiff from its brain injuries, Garcia commanded her and Lansdon to go out and find him Vicodin, a controlled substance. She returned after not having found any, and he became angry and sent them back out for another search.
Garcia pleaded guilty to first-degree murder last May in exchange for a promise of no more than 50 years in prison. He must serve every day of his sentence.
Associate Judge James Hackett said he found the way the baby was treated unbelievable.
"This is difficult to comprehend. To me it is unbelievable that more effort was used to find drugs for the defendant than for them to relieve the symptoms of a dying child," the judge said. "It's unfathomable."
Linsey Eyer testified that victim Maxwell Eyer was deaf from birth and required continual treatment for his disability.