In 1991, a casual Fourth of July party in Colorado Springs, Colorado, became the scene of a murder after a fight broke out. Don Garcia was killed as he tried to leave the party, and it was clear that he wasn’t the intended target. The authorities then had a homicide inquiry on their hands and had to identify who was responsible. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Homicide Hunter: Hot On The Trail: Deadly Independence Day’ chronicles the events leading up to Don’s slaying and what happened after. So, if you’re curious about the same, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Don Garcia Die?
Don Lee Garcia was a Colorado Springs native born in September 1971. The young man graduated from Harrison High School in Colorado and, at the time of the incident, was an assistant cook at a local hotel. Don was described as a friendly and hard-working man with a supportive family. The 19-year-old was a budding artist and loved Fourth of July parties, and he was attending one of those on the night of the incident.
During the early morning hours of July 5, 1991, the authorities received a call regarding a car crash near a convenience store in Colorado Springs. The police rushed there to find Don, who was in the driver’s seat, dead. The passenger in the car was Naomi, who was in shock. Don was rushed to the hospital, but it was too late; he died of a single gunshot wound on top of his ear.
Who Killed Don Garcia?
As per the show, Naomi told the police that she and Don were at a Fourth of July party close by. Then, they heard of a fight breaking out there. Around the time the altercation ended, everyone learned of the police coming by and began making an exit. While Don and Naomi were in the car trying to get away, gunshots rang out in the area, with one bullet hitting Don through an open window. Naomi eventually crashed the vehicle, after which the authorities arrived.
A neighbor then gave the police a white hat and claimed it fell off the head of the shooter as he left the scene. Now, the police had to identify the shooter. They eventually found a man named Lenny, who admitted to being part of the fight. According to the show, Lenny told the police that some unidentified men crashed the party, with one man wearing a white hat picking a fight with Lenny. Then, a friend of Lenny’s told the police that the guy’s name was Troy; they served time together at one point.
The investigators then looked into everyone named Troy that had been in prison around the same time as Lenny’s friend. Ultimately, Lenny and his friend picked out Troy Hartwick from a photo lineup. At the time of the incident, Troy was about 20 years old and, as per the show, claimed to be part of a gang. However, he was long gone from Colorado Springs by then.
Where is Troy Hartwick Today?
As per the show, the authorities also spoke with one of Troy’s friends at the party with him. The friend was in jail at the time of questioning and stated that Troy fired the gun and then ditched it in the woods. About two months after the incident, Troy was pulled over for speeding in Florida and arrested. He was found guilty of first-degree murder, and in May 1992, he was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
In September 2017, Troy’s attorneys filed a motion saying he was wrongly convicted. According to them, testing showed that his DNA wasn’t present on the hat. However, records indicate that Troy remains incarcerated at Centennial Correctional Facility in Cañon City, Colorado. He will be eligible for parole in 2031.
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