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New evidence leads to plea in murder case

The discovery of new evidence led to a plea agreement Tuesday in which murder defendant Ryan Lee Garcia pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

The 24-year-old Levelland man pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
District Judge Pat Phelan sentenced Garcia to 10 years in prison, the maximum allowed for the third-degree felony.

He will receive credit for being in the Hockley County Jail for the last 13 months.

A charge of possession of a controlled substance was dismissed during the plea hearing.

Garcia was originally scheduled to go to trial Tuesday. He was charged with first-degree murder in the Sept. 21, 2012 shooting death of 19-year-old Paul Ochoa.

The victim was shot in the chest at close range with a shotgun outside the Monroe Street trailer home of Garcia.

Ochoa ran a short distance and fell in the street. He was  pronounced dead at the scene.

The defendant told police afterwards that he was defending himself because Ochoa was supposedly trying to break into his home.

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