Hader Garcia got lucky when police allegedly caught him driving a freshly-carjacked SUV last month. The victim couldn’t specifically identify him as one of the hijackers who took the car, so prosecutors only charged him with the less-serious felony of possessing a stolen motor vehicle.
But Garcia’s luck took a decidedly negative turn Friday when prosecutors charged him with a December murder based, in part, on evidence cops found in that hijacked SUV.
The murder took place around 3 a.m. December 18 on the 4700 block of West Irving Park Road.
Richard Robinette, a 36-year-old handyman who also worked as a beer vendor at Soldier Field, was stopped at a red light when Garcia pulled up next to him in a stolen Acura SUV, prosecutors said.
Garcia then fired six shots into Robinette’s car, striking him several times, Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Hanichak said, without providing a motive for the crime. Robinette’s car rolled forward and crashed into some parked cars. He died a short time later.
Witnesses who were behind Robinette’s car at the red light stayed and talked with police as the Acura sped from the scene. Investigators used surveillance cameras and license plate readers to track the Acura to Skokie. They found footage of Garcia getting out of the driver’s seat and sticking a gun in the front of his pants about five hours after the murder, said Hanichak.
A Skokie police officer recognized Garcia from previous interactions. A shell casing found on the Acura’s driver’s floorboard matched six found at the murder scene, Hanichak said.
Investigators caught a break a couple of weeks later when Garcia was arrested for driving the allegedly hijacked SUV on January 7. Cops found three guns in the car, including one that had an olive green extended magazine with a sticker on it that said “Supreme,” Hanichak said. Police later determined the gun was used to kill Robinette, he alleged.
Investigators found pictures and videos on Garcia’s phone that show him holding a gun with the same magazine with the same sticker and wearing the same clothes that he wore when he stepped out of the car in Skokie hours after the murder, Hanichak said. The phone’s GPS data allegedly put Garcia in the area of the murder at the time of the shooting.
In addition to all of that, about two weeks before the murder, detectives who were looking through a car that had been reported stolen found a phone that was registered to Garcia’s mother, Hanichak said. He said it contained videos of Garcia flashing gang signs and displaying a gun with the olive green magazine with a “Supreme” sticker.
Garcia’s public defender said he works part time in construction and goes to school part time.
Judge Barbara Dawkins granted the state’s request to hold Garcia without bail on a charge of first-degree murder.