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Man sentenced to life in prison after stabbing, killing roommate in Beaumont

"On behalf of the victim’s family, we thank the jury for their verdict," Prosecutor Luke Nichols tells 12News.

BEAUMONT, Texas — A man found guilty of stabbing, killing his roommate in April 2021 has been sentenced to life in prison. 

Joaquin Garcia was indicted on September 1, 2021 on one count of murder for the April 2021 stabbing death of 40-year-old Norlan Moreno in Beaumont. 

The trial was held before the Judge Raquel West in the 252nd District Court.

The jury took less than an hour to find Garcia guilty. 

“This is as horrific and brutal a murder as we ever see, and thanks to great work by Beaumont Police Department, justice has been served. On behalf of the victim’s family, we thank the jury for their verdict," Prosecutor Luke Nichols tells 12News.

Garcia was arrested the night of April 20, 2021, after Beaumont Police received a call from a woman who said she had reason to believe her husband was being stabbed in their home, at the 2900 block of Charles Street, according to a previous Beaumont Police Department release. 

When police arrived at the scene, they found the body of Moreno.

Beaumont Police requested other police departments be on the lookout for Garcia, who had fled the scene of the fatal stabbing. 

Garcia was taken into custody by the Victoria Police Department later that night and was held there until being transferred to the Jefferson County Jail.

During testimony on Wednesday, November 30, 2022, Beaumont Police Department Detective Sgt. Jesus Tamayo was the first to take the stand.

Tamayo testified that a car stolen in connection with the murder had been found by the Victoria Police Department, about three and a half hours from the Texas-Mexico border. 

He was part of a group of officers who went to Victoria to take custody of Garcia. 

Garcia said he traveled from Mexico to Beaumont to pick up a check, according to Tamayo.

Tamayo says Garcia initially denied having an argument with Moreno, but then admitted to it, but was vague in how or why it began.

Garcia allegedly told Tamayo there was evidence he could get in Mexico that would help clear him and that he asked to go alone, but never said what that evidence was. 

During cross examination, Defense Attorney Marvin Lewis Jr. asked Tamayo questions about how the crime scene was processed and the sergeant described the processes. 

In photos shown in court, Tamayo identified a cut, bruise and other wounds Garcia had.

Garcia was called to the stand by the defense on Wednesday.

He testified that he has four kids and that they he and his kids live in both the US and Mexico. 

He testified that he worked at a car wash in Lumberton and that Moreno was a supervisor at the car wash. 

Garcia says he had moved in with Moreno and a woman, where he helped Moreno get his citizenship and a job at an area plant. They all later moved to Beaumont. 

During testimony, Garcia testified that the day Moreno died, Moreno was very quiet. He said that during an altercation between the two, Garcia was cut and Moreno told him, "I will kill you."

Garcia says he knew Moreno had guns in his room and that Moreno was heading toward the room where the guns were during the altercation.

At this moment is when Garcia says he started chasing Moreno. He says he was "terrified" and wanted to leave. 

During cross examination, Nichols asked Garcia if the officers found any guns in Garcia's room when they searched it. He said they found none. 

Nichols asked Garcia if Moreno attacked him without saying anything, and Garcia said yes. The prosecutor then asked Garcia if Moreno had cut his finger in the attack, in which Garcia said yes.

When asked how the knife ended up in his hand, Garcia says there was one at the bar. 

In opening statements Tuesday, November 29, 2022, Nichols apologized to the jury for the details they will have to hear and for the video they will have to watch during the trial. 

Nichols told the jury there are security cameras in the house where the murder happened and footage shown in court would show Garcia with a knife chasing Moreno and ultimately killing him.

Lewis told the jury they will see a confrontation on video that led to the death of Moreno, but not all of it took place on camera. 

He warned them that some of the video will be hard to watch, but it will help them get to the bottom of what happened.

Related: Bond set at $1M for suspect in Beaumont fatal stabbing Tuesday evening

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This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.

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