A man who testified that he was defending his nephew during a brawl in southwest Oklahoma City was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday.
Harry Garcia, 30, was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole in the death of Casey Wright, 19.
Wright was stabbed once in the chest April 20 outside an apartment building at 5700 S Agnew.
Eyewitnesses said a fight broke out between two groups of men outside the apartments when Garcia went inside an apartment, grabbed a knife and then came outside and stabbed Wright.
“I was scared for my family, sir. I couldn't just leave him alone, sir,” Garcia testified.
“I still got to be an uncle, sir,” he said.
But jurors believed the prosecution's argument that the death could have been avoided and that the involved parties would have walked away with cuts and bruises.
At one point during his testimony, Garcia asked the prosecutor without prompt, “I don't mean to be rude, but would you leave your family out there?”
Garcia admitted to stabbing Wright, but he said that he did not mean to kill him.
“I didn't use the knife with the intention of taking this man's life,” Garcia said.
“It's a violent area. You never know what's going to happen,” he said.
Garcia's nephew, Isabel Ledezma, and another man, Armando Daniel Hernandez, were arrested last year in connection with the incident, but they were not charged.
Garcia pleaded guilty to using a vehicle to facilitate the intentional discharge of a firearm in 2005, and he was on probation for a 2012 marijuana possession charge when the killing occurred, Oklahoma County court records show.