Young found guilty in Santa Rosa prison case

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

An Albuquerque jury late Friday found Robert Young guilty of felony murder and other charges in the 1999 death of Santa Rosa prison guard Ralph Garcia, according to a press release from the N.M Attorney General’s office.

Sentencing is expected in the latter part of January, 2009, the release said.

Garcia, who died Aug. 19, 1999, is the husband of Rachel Garcia of Tucumcari.

Ralph Garcia was a rancher who had started working at the prison to supplement his income a few months before he was killed, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Garcia’s death stems from an inmate uprising at the Guadalupe County Correctional Facility, according to news reports.

The case was moved out of district because of conflicts, and testimony began in Albuquerque before District Judge Neil Candelaria before Thanksgiving under heavy court security, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Fifteen inmates were originally charged in 2000, and the state sought the death penalty against Young and Reis Lopez, the Journal reported.
“Lopez entered a guilty plea to the murder in May after the death penalty was rescinded because of the state’s failure to provide enough funds for the defense,” the Journal stated.

The Journal also reported that Assistant Attorney General Francisco Prieto said during court proceedings that Garcia was stabbed 28 times as he entered E Pod at the institution, and although other inmates participated in the stabbing, it was Young who planned, directed, launched and took part in the death.”