GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The man charged with the murder and sexual battery of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson will stand trial July 18, 2016. And prosecutors announced they will seek the death penalty.
When Alberto Garcia appeared in court Friday morning, Judge Lisa Dodson asked him how he would plead to the capital murder charges. He answered, "not guilty."
Garcia showed no emotion as he was brought into a Harrison County Circuit Courtroom with his hands and feet cuffed. Surrounded by his public defenders, they listened to Assistant District Attorney Crosby Parker as he read the indictment, which accuses Garcia of Janaya's murder during a crime of sexual battery.
Fifteen months ago, Janaya disappeared from the Palms Apartments on Klein Road in Gulfport. A search was conducted and she was later found dead in a vacant trailer on Whitney Drive, not far from her home.
Garcia continues to be held at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center, with no bond.
Judge Dodson set a trial date, and also approved the defense team's request of $15,000 for the services of mental health experts. The state is seeking the death penalty.