Man Accused of Setting Man Ablaze Charged With Torture

A man named Jose Ricardo Garibay, 26, is accused of dousing a stranger, 39-year-old Julio Edeza, with a flammable liquid in a busy Oak Park parking lot and setting him on fire. The victim Edeza has been hospitalized and is currently in critical condition. He was taken to UCSD Medical Center with burns covering most of his body.

Garibay was arrested near his home in the 6200 block of Estrella Avenue. He surrendered without incident, and according to police accounts, was “very matter-of-fact about [his] arrest.”

Earlier this week, Garibay pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, aggravated mayhem, and torture. He is being held without bail and faces life in prison if convicted.  Additionally, special circumstance allegations could be added if the victim does not survive.  Investigators have not determined a motive for the apparently random attack and law enforcement do not believe the assailant and victim knew each other. A status conference was set for April 29 and a preliminary hearing for May 3.

The Crime of “Torture” in California

While it sounds like a crime associated with a federal terrorism statute, the state of California has its own law addressing “torture,” which was passed into law in 1990 by way of a California ballot initiative. See CA Penal Code § 206.  CA Penal Code § 206 defines torture as:

  • Inflicting great bodily injury on another person,;
  • With the intent to cause extreme pain and suffering or permanent disability;
  • “For the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion or any sadistic purpose.”

It is not necessary for the perpetrator to intend to kill a victim to be able to be charged and convicted of torture. However, in California, if a murder is committed willfully using torture, it is then considered a “special circumstances murder,” which means an automatic life sentence with no possibility of parole. This means that if someone dies as a result of being tortured. even if you only intended to maliciously assault him, you will be looking a life sentence.

By itself, torture is a felony punishable by a life sentence and a fine up to $10,000. If you are convicted with torture, you will not be eligible to seek a parole hearing until at least seven years into your sentence.

San Diego Felony Defense Lawyer

In California, felony crimes are serious and can have life-altering consequences. In California, felony crimes are serious and can have life-altering consequences. If convicted of one, you could face extended jail time or life imprisonment. At the Law Offices of David M. Boertje, we handle all misdemeanor and felony cases including cases of torture charges, terrorism, and malicious assault. If you or someone you know has been charged with a felony level crime in San Diego or the North County area, do not try to represent yourself. Contact our law firm today for effective and professional legal services.  

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