A sheriff's detective solves a cold case after spotting a tattoo that matched the scene of a 2004 crime. The suspect had been photographed after being stopped for a traffic offense.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 19 for a 25-year-old man convicted of first-degree murder partly due to a tattoo on his chest matching the scene of the 2004 murder scene in front of a Pico Rivera liquor store.
A jury convicted of Anthony Garcia Wednesday in connection with the January 2004 killing of Pico Rivera resident John Juarez in front of Ed's Liquor located at 6616 Rosemead Blvd., said Capt. Mike Parker of the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau.
In August 2008, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Detective Sgt. Kevin Lloyd came across a photo of the tattoo on the then 22-year-old Garcia's chest when he was looking for another tattoo, Parker said.
“It looked just like a murder scene Sgt. Lloyd remembered from when he worked as a sergeant at Pico Rivera sheriff's station in 2004,” Parker said.
Lloyd said he had been at the scene of the killing “so right away it caught my attention.” Parker said the tattoo showed a victim being shot and a liquor store in the background. The street light and other details were also in the artwork in the photo, which had been taken in March 2008 when Garcia was arrested and booked at Pico Rivera sheriff's station for driving on a suspended driver's license.
“Lloyd looked up the unsolved...murder case and was reminded,” Parker said. “He pored over the cold case file and compared the crime scene photos with the photo of the tattoo on Garcia's chest.”
Parker said the tattoo window and frames of the store are similar to the crime scene photo of the liquor store, even the Christmas lights. The tattoo also shows a peanut man being shot then falling face down. A helicopter is depicted shooting the peanut man.
“The gang nickname of convicted murderer Anthony Garcia is ‘Chopper,’” Parker said, adding that chopper is common slang for a helicopter. “Garcia's gang refers to members of their rival gang as peanuts.”
Parker said the direction the shots were actually fired even matched those depicted in the tattoo.
“The tattoo street light and street sign to the left of the liquor store resemble the corner of Rosemead and Carron Street, the scene of the murder,” Parker said. “Above the scene on the tattoo it says ‘RIVERA KILLS.’ Rivera-13 is the name of Garcia's gang.”
Garcia was arrested at a La Habra home in October 2008. Parker said he confessed while in the Norwalk sheriff's station jail and was booked for murder the same day.
“Sgt. Kevin Lloyd's incredible observation of Garcia's extraordinary tattoo, combined with great investigative work is one of the reasons why sheriff's homicide investigators are known as ‘The Bulldogs,’” Parker said.
“Fate and tenacious police work brought this convicted murderer to justice.”
During the investigation, Lloyd also determined gang member Robert Armijo, 28, drove the getaway car during the murder, Parker said. Armijo confessed his involvement to Lloyd and later pleaded guilty to the charge. He is facing 20 years in prison.