Suspicious Minds travels to Fairfield, California, to investigate a tragic case of mistaken identity that led to the murder of city councilor Matt Garcia.
On September 1, 2008, the 22-year-old councilor was standing with a friend in a residential driveway in the Cordelia area of the city when Henry Don Williams stepped out of a car and fired eight shots at him.
Williams and his friend, Gene Allen Combs, had believed that Matt was local drug dealer Ryan Estes, who had ripped both of them off. The dealer had cheated Combs out of $50 earlier that day, and Williams said that he had also recently been cheated out of a bag of drugs.
The pair decided to confront the man at his home and were driven by William’s pregnant girlfriend, Nicole Stewart. Unfortunately, Garcia coincidentally arrived at the same street while the murderous trio was there.
Mistaken identity led to Matt Garcia’s murder
A confused Williams mistook the councilor for Estes and opened fire. Only one of the eight shots fired by Williams actually hit Garcia, but unfortunately, it hit him in the back of the head and ended his life.
The gun had been bought and supplied by Coombs, and the pair got a friend to then dispose of the firearm. Coombs and Williams learned the following day that they had killed a councilor after Coombs saw the news breaking on television.
Coombs then left a voicemail message on Estes’s cellphone, where he stated that those bullets had been meant for him. This was later used as evidence against him.
A week and a half later, Coombs contacted the police to tell them he knew who had killed Matt Garcia. He eventually led detectives to Williams. Nicole Stewart subsequently agreed to testify against her boyfriend.
The two suspects were tried separately. Williams was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 50 years to life. Coombs was found guilty of second-degree murder for aiding and abetting the killing and was sentenced to 15 years to life.
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Suspicious Minds airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.