District Attorney's Office


  

Conasauga Judicial Circuit of Georgia




   Serving Murray & Whitfield Counties

THIRD DEFENDANT PLEADS GULTY TO MOLESTING CHILD

January 7, 2022 (Dalton) – Sally Ann Garcia (48), formerly of 1123 Riverbend Road SE, entered a guilty plea yesterday after lunch to child molestation and incest for acts of sexual abuse she participated in against her own child. The guilty plea came during the third day of her trial for those same crimes. Superior Court Judge Jim Wilbanks sentenced Garcia to the maximum time allowed by law, fifty years with the first forty-nine to be served in prison followed by a statutorily mandated one year on probation. Wilbanks stated from the bench that “horrific does not even begin to describe” the crimes committed against this child.

A jury had been selected in the case on Monday at the Dalton Convention Center due to ongoing renovations at the Courthouse. Chief Child Abuse Prosecutor Ben Kenemer represented the State while local attorney Mike Corbin represented Garcia. Evidence was presented on Tuesday and Wednesday and was set to resume Thursday after lunch when Garcia decided she wished to enter a guilty plea. Kenemer had called fifteen witnesses up to that point including members of the Greenhouse, Family Support Council, Department of Family and Children’s Services, and the Dalton Police Department. One witness also testified concerning the Darkness to Light training that is done locally by the Family Support Council in order to educate people on child abuse. Kenemer was assisted at trial by supervisor Heather Gates of DFCS who oversaw the investigation in Whitfield County Juvenile Court. Two additional witnesses were expected to testify Thursday afternoon with jury deliberations expected to begin today.

Sally Garcia is the third person to plead guilty to molesting the same victim. Her husband, James Steven Garcia (46) entered a guilty plea on November 5th and was sentenced to 35 years with the first 20 to be served in confinement. James Garcia entered his plea prior to any jury being selected in his case. Prior to that, on August 10th, Faye Michelle Smith (41) entered a guilty plea and agreed to testify against James Garcia if his case went to trial. Smith received a sentence of 20 years with the first 7 to be served in prison. Neither James Garcia nor Smith were scheduled to testify against Sally Garcia during the trial this week. All three adults knew about and actively participated in sexual abusing the child to varying degrees.

Fifteen jurors were initially selected on the case including three alternates. One juror became ill after hearing testimony in the case and was excused with one of the alternates seated. Two of the jurors went above and beyond after the plea and sentencing. Persuaded by the importance of the Darkness to Light training program in our community, they donated their juror pay to the Family Support Counsel to help fund the program. Jurors are paid twenty-five dollars per day for their service so the two jurors donated a total of $200 to the program.

Kenemer wished to point out the numerous agencies involved in the prosecution of this case and thanked all the agencies for a team effort in making sure that justice was served. "Many people in this case doggedly pushed for this case to be brought forward and did not rest until this case was brought to court. Their efforts certainly helped in making sure that this victim received the justice that they definitely deserved."


Sally Ann Garcia, November 5, 2020

James Steve Garcia, July 2, 2020

Faye Michelle Smith, January 31, 2021




Bert Poston
District Attorney
Conasauga Judicial Circuit


News Archive



Bert Poston,
District Attorney


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