‘Mortal Kombat’ teen pleads guilty
Greeley CO, Colorado
GREELEY, Colorado ” On Monday, a little more than a week after the first anniversary of Zoe Garcia’s death, Lamar Roberts, 19, pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in her death. He faces from 16-48 years in prison, with no agreed-upon sentencing. A second charge of child abuse was dropped in the deal.
“The court also finds based on motions hearings … there’s a factual basis to support a guilty plea,” said Judge Marcelo Kopcow, after determining Roberts pleaded guilty on his own free will.
The deal came just a half-hour before attorneys were due to confirm Roberts’ previously scheduled January trial. He’ll now be sentenced on the last day that trial was scheduled to run, Jan. 16.
The case was dubbed “Mortal Kombat” because Roberts and Zoe’s sister, Heather Trujillo, were said to have been imitating the popular and violent video game on the night of Dec. 6, 2007.
Trujillo, now 17, pleaded guilty in May and was sentenced to six years in the youthful offender system.
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The two were arrested weeks after the crime, their stories changing with each interview with authorities. Trujillo initially told police she was wrestling with her sister and she passed out. She said her sister woke up, and they put her to bed, checking on her about 15 minutes later. She was not breathing.
About 10 interviews later, Trujillo told police that she was tired of being Roberts’ scapegoat.
Court affidavits revealed that Roberts told a witness in the case that he kicked the girl, but he didn’t know how hard he had kicked her because he had been drinking. Affidavits said he later told Zoe’s mother, Dana Trujillo, that he had picked the girl up and body slammed her; he also admitted to kicking her. At one point, she fell to the ground and she had stopped breathing.
An autopsy revealed that Zoe had more than 20 bruises on her body, a broken wrist, had bleeding and swelling in the brain and other internal bleeding. The cause of death was ruled as a result of “blunt force injuries.”
Dana Trujillo, did not attend the hearing; she could not be reached for comment. Zoe’s father, Anthony Garcia, who lives in California, also did not attend, but he will fly in to testify in Roberts’ sentencing hearing. He did not return calls for an interview.
Lamar Roberts will be sentenced in the death of Zoe Garcia at a hearing from 3-5 p.m. Jan. 16 in Weld District Court.