Manuel Garcia Pleads Guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter

Manuel Garcia waived his right to a trial Wednesday and pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter while armed for the fatal shooting of Luis E. Avila Melendez on June 21.

Melendez, 27, was found shot after 2 a.m. near the intersection of Fuller street and Mozart place. A witness called 911 after hearing five to six gunshots and seeing a Hispanic man and woman running, charging documents say.

According to the proffer of facts, Garcia and a woman were walking in the 2500 block of 17th street, when they passed Melendez and another man. Though Garcia had never met Melendez or the other man, Garcia and Melendez got into a verbal altercation, documents say.

During the altercation, Garcia flashed a gun tucked his waistband, documents state.

After that, Garcia and the two men separated, but they met up again on the 2500 block of Mozart Place Northwest, according to the proffer. Melendez and the other man rushed towards him, documents say, and Garcia moved toward them.

Then Garcia began firing his gun at Melendez and the other man, according to the proffer, and the men ran in the opposite direction. Melendez was struck in the back, and fell to the ground where he was found, documents say.

According to charging documents, the woman with Garcia said Melendez and the other man “kept threatening her and [Garcia]” during their initial meeting and that one man “kept touching his waist like he had a gun or something.” documents say.

She also told police that the two men tried to speak to them in Spanish, according to the documents, but she didn’t understand what was said.

Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 8 at 9:30 a.m. before Judge Rhonda Winston.

A copy of the plea documents are below:

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