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No outside jury for man accused of killing woman in Kenosha

Brass Milled Gavel By walknboston (Flickr: Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Brass Milled Gavel By walknboston (Flickr: Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

KENOSHA, WI (WTAQ) - A judge in Kenosha says there’s no need to have a jury from outside the area hear the possible trial of a man accused of killing a woman and leaving her body in a cemetery.

Javier Garcia’s attorney questioned whether local residents could make a fair verdict, and he asked for a change of venue. But Circuit Judge Mary Wagner said Wednesday that the news coverage about the case has not been prejudiced against the defendant.

The 52-year-old Garcia is charged with homicide in the slaying of 26-year-old Lisa Mezera. A police officer found her partially-clad body last August while passing a cemetery near Kenosha in the town of Somers.

The next day, her father told police that Mezera had been missing for a couple days – and she had been spending time with a co-worker he only knew as “Javier.”

Prosecutors said DNA evidence links Garcia to the crime. Mezera died from strangulation, and officials said she was also beaten in the head.

Meanwhile, the defense wants to prevent a jury from hearing that Garcia was accused of kidnapping and molesting another woman over a decade ago. Charges were dropped in that case – and Judge Wagner has not decided whether to suppress that information.