AUBURN, CA -- Less than ten days after hearing the case, a state appeals court has upheld the 2005 murder conviction of Mario Garcia in the killing of a 27-year-old woman who was last seen leaving a Placer County tribal casino.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento ruled Wednesday there were no errors in admission of the evidence against Garcia. He's now serving a 59 years-to-life sentence at High Desert State Prison in Susanville.
"This is a huge decision. We're so relieved," Wilson's mother Debbie Boyd told News10.
Video cameras showed Garcia and Wilson leaving Thunder Valley Casino near Lincoln. She was never seen again, and her body has not been recovered.
At the appeal hearing, Garcia's lawyer Mark Greenberg argued the conviction should be overturned and a new trial ordered on several grounds. His key argument is the judge shouldn't have allowed the jury to see a videotape of detectives questioning Garcia when he invoked his constitutional rights to not cooperate.
Deputy Attorney General Robert Gezi argued the evidence was properly allowed to show "conscienceness of guilt."
Wilson's body has never been found and Garcia's conviction was the first successful murder prosecution without a body in Placer County.
The case may not be over, however. After the February 17 appeal hearing, Greenberg said if he lost the case he would carry the appeal to the California Supreme Court.
The Associated Press