Mother pleads guilty in son’s ‘birthday cake’ killing

A Hagerstown woman charged in the 2015 death of her 9-year-old son, Jack Garcia, beaten by a boyfriend for taking a piece of birthday cake, is facing up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court to first-degree child abuse resulting in death.

Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. ordered a presentence investigation prior to sentencing for Oriana Iris Garcia, 27, formerly of Lynnehaven Drive. Long scheduled sentencing for March 31.

Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Mollett-Gaumer told Long the state is seeking 30 years in prison with 10 years suspended. Defense attorney David Harbin will be free to argue for a lesser sentence.

“The defense will provide mitigation at sentencing to further explain this tragic incident,” Harbin told Long. He said afterward that he would have no further comment until the sentencing.

Other charges, including second-degree murder, were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Oriana Garcia made no statement in court, her only words being “Yes, your Honor,” and other brief answers to questions posed by Long as the plea agreement was entered.

Jack Garcia died at a Washington, D.C., hospital on July 5, 2015, six days after he was fatally beaten in the Lynnehaven Drive apartment by Robert Leroy Wilson. In March 2016, Wilson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Oriana Garcia’s brother and Jack Garcia’s uncle, Jacob Barajas, pleaded guilty last fall to first-degree child abuse resulting in severe physical injury. The state recommended he receive 15 years in prison, and he is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 27.

Jack Garcia was handcuffed and chained to a chair by Barajas and beaten to unconsciousness by Wilson for taking a piece of another child’s birthday cake, according to court records. Barajas had been watching Jack and two other children when Wilson arrived home and discovered the missing piece of cake.

Barajas went into another room while Wilson beat Jack Garcia. He later came in and removed the handcuffs from the boy, but Wilson continued the beating, delivering what the charging document described as “palm strikes” to the boy’s abdomen until he fell to the floor and lost consciousness.

Jack Garcia said, “Please stop” before falling to the floor unconscious, Mollett-Gaumer said.

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