Co-defendant to enter plea in fatal fight in Gardnerville Ranchos

Enrique Garcia, charged in connection with the June 24 death of Jeffrey John of Markleeville, is set to enter a plea Monday to a charge of dissuading a witness, a gross misdemeanor.

Garcia, 20, waived a preliminary hearing set for Thursday in East Fork Justice Court.

He is to enter an Alford plea, which means he doesn't admit committing the crime but agrees there is sufficient evidence he could be found guilty.

He originally was charged with aiding or abetting battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm, aiding or abetting a battery causing substantial bodily harm and aiding or abetting involuntary manslaughter.

Garcia was accused of encouraging suspect Michael Ward to shower after a fight and wash his clothes as well as attempting to hide a knife believed to be used in the fatal altercation with John, 24.

According to deputies, a fight started shortly after midnight June 24 at Garcia's residence on Zinfandel Drive in the Gardnerville Ranchos and spilled outside, down the block and across the street where John's body was found.

"Do you think this is a fair resolution to your problem?" Judge Jim EnEarl asked Garcia.

"Yes, sir," he answered.

He is to appear in District Court on Monday.

Ward, 21, is set for trial Tuesday on charges of battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm, battery causing substantial bodily harm and involuntary manslaughter.

He was accused of cutting John with a knife, hitting and kicking him and killing the father of four during the commission of an unlawful act.

Ward has been in Douglas County Jail since the incident on $100,000 bail.

Prosecutor Dina Salvucci said the reduced charge reflected the evidence against Garcia.

"He was instrumental in having Mr. Ward clean up and/or hide the handle of the knife," she said.

She said Garcia was involved in a fight, but not with John.

If convicted, Garcia faces up to one year in Douglas County Jail and a $2,000 fine.

- Contact reporter Sheila Gardner at or 782-5121, ext. 214.


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