Woman accused in crime spree yells ‘I love you' to her mother in court

Cindy Garcia arrested after Barrio Logan shootout

SAN DIEGO - Yelling "I love you" to her mother, Cindy Garcia was escorted by San Diego County sheriff's deputies after her status conference Thursday.

Garcia is accused of being the accomplice to Philip Hernandez, the former Cal Fire firefighter who was shot and killed by police days after investigators said the duo committed a string of robberies in the county.

Also in the courtroom was Marisa Ugarte, who told Team 10 in a previous interview she met Garcia years ago when her anti-human trafficking organization rescued her in Mexico.

Ugarte said Garcia was held captive by a gang member and was forced into prostitution and drug dealing. Ugarte believes years of that trauma should clear Garcia from any charges.

Before Thursday's status conference, Ugarte agreed to do an interview with 10News. However, after talking to the defense attorney, Ugarte changed her mind, saying she had been asked not to talk to the media anymore.

In her interview last week with Team 10, Garcia said she tried to stop Hernandez, but couldn't. She also said she tried to leave him several times during the four-day spree.

Garcia also described Hernandez as "a very good person" and said she "fell in love with the man."

Garcia said Hernandez went on the crime spree on purpose and that before the crime spree, he told her something that made her want to leave him for the first time.

Garcia said she couldn't get up the will to leave because she loved him so much.

Former San Diego County District Attorney Paul Pfingst told 10News its unlikely the charges against Garcia will be dropped because of the level of violence associated with the crimes she and Hernandez are accused of committing.

"The only legal defense that the law recognizes is duress, and the duress defense requires that you actually be compelled to commit the crime by someone else and you had no choice, and then when the crime is over you get away at the earliest opportunity. That didn't happen here," Pfingst explained. "Therefore the only thing that a defendant could hope for in this circumstance is discretion from the DA or from the judge."

But in a violent crime Pfingst said the discretion usually gets substantially reduced.

Pfingst told 10News deciding Garcia's case will be a tough call for both the district attorney and the judge.

"It's not an easy call. On the one hand, if you give her a break and she goes to college and all goes well, everybody celebrates. On the other hand, if you give her a break and she goes out and kills someone then everybody says well what did you do that for?" said Pfingst.

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