After serving 280 days of pre-sentence incarceration, former ASU football player Andres Garcia, 23, was sentenced Monday to a total of 2.5 years in prison for sexual assault. Garcia committed the crime on June 7 and pleaded guilty on Dec. 19.
Judge Teresa Sanders of Maricopa County Superior Court found the presumptive term of 2.5 years in prison “to be appropriate,” after hearing closing remarks from the prosecution and defense. In addition to prison time, Garcia is required to comply with lifetime probation supervision and sex offender registry.
Garcia was convicted of two counts of attempted sexual assault, a class 3 felony, and one count of burglary in the third degree, which is a class 4 felony.
Because of the plea agreement, the maximum allowed sentence could have been 3.75 years and a minimum of one year, according to Sanders. The 280 days already served will be subtracted from the sentenced 2.5 years.
“In a matter of hours my life went from a safe and happy one to one of fear, despair and darkness,” the victim said.
Because of the nature of the crime, the woman was not identified. She requested that Garcia receive the maximum sentence, hoping that it would bring her and her family some peace of mind.
Prosecuting attorney Ryan Powell said the defense team described the case as an unfortunate incident, but that wasn’t true.
“This was not an unfortunate incident,” he said. “This was not an error in judgment. This was a rape.”
Garcia said he had been friends with the victim since childhood, and he hopes that she will eventually forgive him. He said his time in jail has already changed him for the better and that he plans to finish his college education once released.
“I made a stupid and selfish mistake,” Garcia said. “The fact of the matter is that we were really close. I want her to know that I’m extremely sorry.”
Before being arrested, Garcia was one semester from completing his Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at ASU. His father said Garcia has discussed returning to ASU after his prison sentence with the school.
Garcia was removed from his position as a special teams player on the ASU football team after his arrest, but Senior Associate Athletic Director Tim Cassidy spoke highly of him.
“During his tenure as a student athlete, he was an excellent student. He was an excellent young man,” Cassidy said. “He will do an excellent job once he enters the community, and he will be accountable for his actions.”
Additionally, it was recommended that Garcia attend the Arizona Sex Offender Treatment Program, operated by the GEO Group, while in Florence. This program is designed to treat medium-risk sex offenders by focusing on assessment, psycho-education, and relapse prevention.
“I’m prepared to embrace the GEO program,” Garcia said.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Nick_Shively