The trial for a high-ranking gang member connected to a 2016 shooting who attempted to have an eye witness killed is beginning.
Jason Garcia - also known as “G-shine” and “Mecca-J” - a high ranking member of the Bloods Gang, allegedly conspired with four others, some of whom were also already in jail, to track down and kill the eyewitness, who they found through social media.
The five have been indicted on charges that include first-degree attempted murder and second-degree conspiracy.
Garcia’s trial was scheduled to begin on Friday, Jan. 17, according to court records.
Garcia also had been charged with attempted murder and two counts each of assault and criminal possession of a weapon in connection to the 2016 shooting outside the Garden Bar on South 5th Avenue in Mount Vernon that left his victims with “lifelong medical difficulties.”
According to officials, law enforcement investigators discovered the plot while monitoring jail phone calls and other communications Garcia had with one girlfriend, Cassaundra Dunham, of Yonkers and his intended hitman, Damien Rickard, of Elmsford.
A second girlfriend, Ossining resident LaQuana Kershaw was busted after delivering a cellphone charger to Garcia while he was behind bars. She also is accused of working to locate the witness.
Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. said investigators learned that while incarcerated, Garcia used secret cell phones and other means to get in touch with accomplices.
Through the calls, they used coded language to discuss their plans and how to local the witness. Dunham provided Rickard with a handgun equipped with a laser sight and the three discussed multiple places to commit the murder, attempting to find one without surveillance cameras.
“Our mission is always to keep Westchester safe and secure, and with that in mind, the safety of witnesses in every case is paramount," Scarpino stated. "A witness to a crime should never fear coming forward. We do everything we can to ensure their safety and this case proves that.
"In addition to commending the Department of Corrections for their work on this investigation, we reaffirm our commitment to working with them as important partners in law enforcement."
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