OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside husband and wife who enslaved their young niece for sex and housework were sentenced to 23 years to life and 20 years respectively in state prisons on May 20.
Marcial Garcia Hernandez, 45, and his wife, Inez Martinez Garcia, 44, pled guilty to multiple felony counts of aggravated sexual assault on a child for forcing their 12-year-old niece to have sex with Hernandez and other men as well as care for their three children, cook and clean their house from 2001 to 2002.
“The things that Inez and Marcial did to me have marked me for life. They took away my childhood,” stated the victim in a letter that was read during the court proceedings by Deputy District Attorney David Uyar. “I can sleep knowing that justice has been done.”
“Rarely do you see crimes as horrible as the crimes you see in this case,” said Judge Aaron Katz as he sentenced Hernandez at San Diego Superior Court’s North County branch. “You are going to pay dearly for your crimes as you are going to be behind bars for the rest of your life.”
The result of a plea agreement, Hernandez was sentenced to 23 years to life without probation and Garcia was sentenced to 20 years, also without probation. Both of them will have to register as sex offenders and pay numerous restitution and court fees.
Had it not been for the plea agreement, the two faced hundreds of years behind bars each, said Hernandez’s attorney Alan Spears.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, the victim was smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico, lured by the Garcia’s promise of a better life and education.
The case had been suspended for nearly 10 years because the victim had been living with her family in Mexico after being held by the Garcias. The investigation was reopened when the victim moved back to the U.S. and came forward to law enforcement.
“The victim is thankful that her aunt and uncle did plead guilty,” said Uyar after the proceedings. “It’s amazing how well she’s doing given everything that has happened to her.”
The victim was not present in court during the sentencing.
The Garcia’s three children, two of whom are minors, were present at the courthouse during the sentencing.