NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, PA – On Friday, Justo Garcia, 41, was sentenced for the rape of a 19-year-old woman, who was jogging along the canal on May 19, 2011, near Sand Island, where the brutal crime took place.
As the young woman neared the Minsi Trail Bridge, Garcia emerged from the brush and grabbed her from behind. He them held a knife with a serrated edge to her throat, as he dragged her off into the woods and raped her, according to court documents.
Once Garcia fled, the woman immediately went home and called the police.
DNA evidence taken from the victim's clothes was submitted to a national database, and in 2019, a match came up for Garcia. By that time, Garica was in a New Mexico state prison, and had racked up several convictions in that state, including one for a 2016 shooting.
In June 2020, Garcia admitted to his crime before Northampton County Judge Paula Roscioli.
The Morning Call reported on the exchange:
“I don’t have a recollection of this,” Garcia said of the rape.
[Judge Paula] Roscioli pointed to the DNA evidence, and as Garcia agreed that he was acknowledging his guilt, he became emotional.
“I’m very sorry for what happened to her,” he said.
“I hope so,” Roscioli said.
“I just wish … ,” he replied before his voice trailed off.
“You think about the impact of this crime on this young woman,” the judge said. “The only good thing I can see here is at least you are sparing her a trial.”
In exchange for his guilty plea, a host of other charges related to the sexual assault were dropped.
Judge Roscioli sentenced Garcia to 10-20 years in prison, the maximum amount of time for this crime.