WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Joshua Cook, the man accused of the murder of Wichita Falls High School senior Yajaira Garcia in 2018, has pleaded guilty and will serve 50 years in prison as part of a plea bargain.
The 21-year-old was charged with murder on November 3rd, 2018 when he was found at the scene over Garcia’s body with a gun in his hand.
Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie said the Garcia family was consulted during the process and agreed with the sentence.
Cook also had a burglary charge which was based on the theft of the firearm used in the murder, which was dismissed.
Cook’s trial was initially set for February 2020 but has been delayed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a new trial date was set for January 2021, Cook’s attorney reached out to the district attorney’s office about a plea bargain.
On August 23rd, Garcia’s accused murderer Joshua Cook was captured by Wichita County Sheriff deputies after leaving house arrest.
After being put back in jail with no bond, Cook’s attorney contacted Gillespie about a plea deal.
“Judge McKnight accepted a plea bargain between the parties for 50 years,” Gillespie said. “In the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a 50-year prison sentence for Josh Cook for the murder of Yajaira, the Old High Student.”
Cook waived the right to appeal his sentence and will be eligible for parole in 25 years.
Gillespie also said the trial process is uncertain and can be very brutal for grieving families. He and the Garcia’s are glad that they won’t have to go through that process.
“They felt that it was the best thing since they didn’t have to go to court. And that he was gonna serve a lengthy of time and that there was not gonna be an appeal,” Yajaira’s mother Mayela Garcia said as she was translated by Gonzalo Robles.
While Cook will serve a lengthy sentence, Garcia’s family does not think justice for Yajaira has been served.
“She also knows that the law is the law. And the way that it was explained to her, she understands the decision. But at the end of the day, the ultimate justice is gonna come from God and no one else,” Mayela said.
At the plea hearing, Mayela gave a statement to Cook asking him to one day explain why he did what he did to her daughter.
“She hopes that one day after spending time in prison that he will come to regret and that he will decide to contact them or explain to them what happened that day,” Mayela said.
As Cook waits to be transported to prison, Garcia’s family will look to live on and keep Yajaira’s legacy alive.
Mayela also said they plan to have a tribute to Yajaira on the anniversary of her death.