Hollinquest takes plea deal in Tiairra Jo Garcia's death

PASCO -- The mother of Tiairra Jo Garcia said Tuesday that the justice system has failed them as her daughter's second killer was sentenced to one year in jail.

Ashone Hollinquest, 23, could be released soon as a result of his plea deal to second-degree manslaughter. He got a reduced sentence for cooperating with authorities and agreeing to testify against his co-defendants.

A tearful Donna Garcia questioned the choices made June 22, 2008, by Hollinquest and Marnicus Lockhard after her 19-year-old daughter was shot. Instead of seeking medical attention or bringing the girl home to her mother, the men left her to die and treated her "like common roadkill," Garcia told the court.

Tiairra Garcia's body has not been found. It reportedly was stuffed into a suitcase and dumped somewhere in Mount Rainier National Park near Enumclaw.

"I wish I could have traded places for her. I've lived a lot of my life but she was robbed of hers," Donna Garcia said. "Why is it a drug dealer gets more years than a person who takes a human life? ... God is the only one who has the right to take a life. A human life is priceless."

Tiairra was dating Lockhard when she went out on the town with him and Hollinquest. She had been driving the men around to Pasco bars when she was accidentally shot inside the van.

Lockhard claimed Hollinquest still was holding the gun when it was discharged.

Hollinquest, in his guilty plea statement, said "I handed a gun to Marnicus Lockhard at his request. He grabbed it from my hand in a harsh manner and when he did so, the gun went off and hit Tiairra Garcia."

Hollinquest says he "tried to administer CPR and wanted to take her to the hospital but was prevented from doing so. I was scared and aided in the disposal of the body when I should not have done so."

A document filed by prosecutors Tuesday said that without Hollinquest's cooperation, "the circumstances surrounding the death of Tiairra Jo Garcia and the disposal of her body would most likely never have been revealed."

The standard range for the crime given Hollinquest's brief criminal history is two years and seven months to three years and five months. But Deputy Prosecutor Dave Corkrum told the court that as a result of the plea negotiations, he was recommending the 12-month jail sentence because "(Hollinquest's) assistance on the investigation in this matter was essential."

Shelley Ajax said her client, a Pasco native, went out on the night of the crime "with somebody who he thought was his friend." After Tiairra was shot, Hollinquest "felt very, very pressured" and feared for his own life.

"He has been very remorseful in every interview, whenever we had to discuss the facts of the case," Ajax said, adding that she thinks it's her first client to ever continue reliving the events of that night.

Hollinquest is "unsatisfied" that Tiairra's body has not been found.

A police search last month, with directions from Lockhard, was unsuccessful.

"I'd just like to say I know that there ain't nothing I can say to bring her back ...," said Hollinquest, who also handed over letters for Donna Garcia and Judge Vic VanderSchoor. "I would like to apologize for the pain that I have caused her family and her friends. I wish I had the will power and the strength to overcome what happened that night."

VanderSchoor said based on what he'd heard and read about Hollinquest's cooperation, a jail sentence is "fair and just."

"I would like to certainly indicate my sympathy and empathy to Ms. Garcia, the mother of the victim," he said. "I know she doesn't think this is appropriate."

Lockhard was sentenced last month to eight years in prison for a modified guilty plea to second-degree manslaughter.

Verla Spencer -- who lied to police after the men brought Tiairra's body to her home -- also struck a deal to second-degree rendering criminal assistance and was sentenced to 364 days in jail with 324 days suspended. She had credit for already serving 40 days.

The only outstanding case is for Andrea Parr, who was charged last week in Superior Court with second-degree rendering criminal assistance and making false or misleading statements to police. She already had a charge for second-degree possession of stolen property, connected to the case.

Parr, Hollinquest's girlfriend, is scheduled for trial Aug. 5.