Raised in Tijuana, Marisol Garcia was forced to work from the age of seven and severely beaten if she returned home empty-handed. Marisol became a trafficking victim at the age of 13. Her trafficker sold her for the price of her $200 smuggling fee to a man who drugged her, raped her, and informed her she belonged to him.
From the age of 13 until her incarceration for the commitment offense at 19, she suffered daily beatings and unspeakablel abuse by the man, Rafael Martinez. He terrorized her with threats to kill her, her family, and their young son.
Marisol served nearly 19 years of her 25 years-to-life sentence for the crimes of Rafael Martinez. In June of 1993, Martinez and Fernando Pereda, who lived together in a migrant worker camp outside San Diego, shot and killed a man to steal his beer. Per Martinez’s instructions, Marisol stood lookout. The jury acquitted her of this murder.
Two weeks later, Martinez shot and killed Pereda to prevent him from going to authorities about the earlier murder. Martinez forced Marisol – then eight months pregnant – to bury Pereda’s body. Marisol’s participation in both crimes was predicated on Martinez’s threats against her, her young son, and her unborn child. No evidence of trafficking or abuse was introduced at the trial, and the jury convicted her for the murder of Pereda.
Although Marisol entered prison damaged from a lifetime of abuse with almost no formal education, she built an exemplary institutional record. She is fluent in English and earned her Graduate Equivalency Degree. She has given back to her community through volunteer activities — participating in a group that teaches Mexican culture and provides assistance to economically disadvantaged families and serving as an aerobics instructor for other inmates.
The Board of Parole Hearings found Marisol suitable for parole at her initial parole hearing on March 10, 2010, but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reversed the grant of parole. On March 7, 2011, the Board again found Marisol suitable for parole, concluding that she was credible, deeply insightful, and mature.
Governor Jerry Brown allowed the Board’s grant of parole to stand, and Marisol was reunited with her family in Mexico in August, 2011.
WATCH MARISOL GARCIA’S PAROLE HEARING