The Lompoc man who allegedly set his father on fire pled not guilty to murder on Tuesday, July 6, according to Santa Barbara County court records.
Joseph Ashley Garcia, 40, had originally been arrested on June 11, after Lompoc officers responded to calls of an argument between two men on the 200 block of North D Street. Upon arriving, officers observed Garcia Jr.’s father, Joseph Michael Garcia, actively burning. Officers extinguished Garcia Sr. before rushing him to a burn center, and Garcia Jr. was arrested on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and elder abuse.
The amended criminal complaint of murder was brought after Garcia Sr. passed away due to his injuries on June 21. The charge has several enhancements, including the infliction of torture.
Garcia Jr. pleaded not guilty to the charge, and a mental competency hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, July 13.