Eric Garcia convicted of three sex-assault attempts in one hour

Around this time last year, we told you about the arrest of Eric Garcia for allegedly attempting to sexually assault two women in a twenty-minute period.

Turns out Garcia had been even busier than originally reported.

He's now been convicted of sexual assault tries against three women during a one-hour period.

We've got details, photos and interactive graphics of areas near two of the crime scenes below.

As our Sam Levin reported last January, the Lakewood Police Department initially said the first incident took place close to 7 p.m. December 18 on the 7600 block of West Colfax Avenue, an area captured in the following interactive graphic. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."

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The LPD noted that the 43-year-old woman in question had been walking from her car when she was attacked, but fought off the man, who subsequently fled in a blue minivan.

Approximately twenty minutes later, the Lakewood cops said a second woman, age 29, was attacked on the 1900 block of South Kipling Parkway. Here's an interactive graphic of that area:

View Larger Map

The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office maintains that Garcia followed this victim to her apartment complex. Fortunately, she had a bottle of pepper spray in her hand -- but even though the substance stopped a sexual assault, it didn't prevent her from being attacked. He's said to have pushed her down the apartment stairs before fleeing on foot.

Garcia had been in trouble with the law before, as witnessed by the first mug shot released by the Lakewood authorities:

The Jeffco DA's office points out that the most recent prosecution was Garcia's fourth. Moreover, he'd only been released from community corrections supervision two months before his December acts.

Lakewood's investigation of Garcia revealed something else, too: Before coming after the two victims mentioned above, he'd done the same regarding a third woman. The DA's office says Garcia had followed a woman from a Lakewood restaurant -- something she realized en route to her home.

For that reason, she changed her destination to the Arvada Police Department. But that didn't stop Garcia. He allegedly pulled into the parking lot in a way that blinded her, then ran to the driver's side window and tried to break into her car. She foiled this effort by driving away.

Thanks to DNA matches confirmed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Garcia didn't have a lot of wiggle room regarding an innocence claim. No wonder he eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted sexual assault, plus criminal trespass, third-degree assault, attempted sexual contact and menacing.

His sentence, handed down late last week: 22 years to life.

"Mr. Garcia is a dangerous man," said DA Pete Weir in a prepared statement. "He was determined to sexually assault a woman that December night in 2012. His rampage was stopped only by the courage of one young woman and her pepper spray. This is a reminder of the need for strong sentencing laws. Before Garcia is ever released from prison, he must prove that he is no longer a danger to our community."

Here's a larger look at Garcia's most recent mug shot.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa January 2013: "Lakewood police arrest Eric Garcia for two sexual assault attempts in 20-minute period."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts