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Consecutive sentences ordered for teen who killed Ogden store owner

Antonio Gianny Garcia, 16, is seen in security footage before shooting and killing an Ogden grocery store owner on Feb. 28. The now 16-year-old was sentenced Tuesday for charges of discharge of a firearm and aggravated robbery.

Antonio Gianny Garcia, 16, is seen in security footage before shooting and killing an Ogden grocery store owner on Feb. 28. The now 16-year-old was sentenced Tuesday for charges of discharge of a firearm and aggravated robbery. (Ogden police)

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OGDEN — A teenager who shot and killed an Ogden grocery store owner while attempting to commit a robbery was ordered Tuesday to remain behind bars at a juvenile facility until he is 21. Then he will receive a parole hearing to decide what happens next.

Antonio Gianny Garcia, 16, pleaded guilty in October to reduced charges of discharge of a firearm and aggravated robbery, both first degree felonies, as part of a plea deal. He was sentenced to two terms of five years to life for each of these charges. Garcia was initially charged with aggravated murder.

The youngest daughter of 65-year-old Satnam Singh, who is the same age as Garcia, told the judge Tuesday how hard it has been for their family.

"The loss of our dad is the worst thing," she said, "I can't even express my pain and loss."

In addition to losing their father, she said she and her two sisters have also lost some of their connection with their mother as she has suffered from the loss of her husband. The daughter said that her mom is now "hollow" and they asked the judge to put Garcia in prison for life.

"This pain is never going to go away, it's just a deep hole in our hearts, I just want my daddy back," she said.

Garcia turned himself over to police after he killed Singh. He admitted that he entered the Super Grocery in Ogden with the intent to steal because he wanted more money. He fired shots, killing Singh, even though Singh had stepped away from the register.

"I'm sorry for all the pain and suffering I've caused for you all. I wish I could go back in time. There's not a day I don't think about what I did," Garcia said to the family.

He said although his intentions were not good, he did not intend on taking the life of Singh and thanked them for giving him a second chance to be a different person.

Prosecutor Letitia Toombs explained that the plea agreement was an attempt at justice, and that the lawyers in the case agreed keeping Garcia in prison until he turned 40 with a sentence of 25 years to life would not constitute justice, but that she is not sure that there can truly be justice for Singh.

Toombs said that there is no question that Garcia caused the death of Singh, or that it was aggravated murder because the killing occurred while Garcia was committing a planned aggravated robbery. However, she said that life in prison without parole is not an option for a juvenile who commits such a crime. Toombs says that she hopes Garcia will take the opportunity to improve, and not make the loss of Singh's life a waste.

"It's hard to say that 72 months is what we're looking at for the loss of Satnam Sing, but it is the closest we could come to ensuring the best outcome for our community," Toombs said.

She said that there is no "good answer" in this case, but that the plea agreement and proposed sentencing was reached after a lot of deliberation and discussion between multiple lawyers and the family.

Judge Jennifer Valencia said she agreed with the plea agreement, but decided that the sentences for the counts should run consecutively rather than concurrently, noting that the guidelines presented in the pre-sentencing report were "wholly inappropriate in this case," because they did not take into account that someone was killed as a result of Garcia's actions.

"His ability to be in our community cannot be one that I could seriously consider at this point," Valencia said.

She told Garcia that she hopes that while he is behind bars he will work on his ability to control his behavior, and noted that he is showing progress toward accepting responsibility.

Garcia's lawyer, Ronald Nichols, said Garcia understands the gravity of his actions and the goal of the judicial system is rehabilitation and allowing people who change their lives to enter the community again.

Once Garcia turns 21, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole will hold a parole hearing and determine whether he should be paroled or serve additional years in prison as part of his sentence at the Utah State Prison.



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