© 2023 WFSU Public Media
WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Potential Early Parole Date Stays Same For Deaf Inmate Serving Life For Murder

Sascha Cordner

Wednesday was the latest parole hearing for a deaf man currently serving a life sentence for a 1981 murder he says he did not commit. The parole board agreed to keep his presumptive parole release date the same.

In 1983, Felix Garcia was given life imprisonment for killing Joseph Tramontana Jr. in Tampa Bay. For decades, he’s claimed he’s innocent. And, Garcia’s chief advocate and retired paralegal Pat Bliss says two of Garcia’s siblings have already submitted affidavits, stating they framed him for the murder.

“We know in our hearts and minds that Felix is innocent,” said Bliss. “I would not be here, if it wasn’t for the fact I believed in this case.”

But, at Wednesday’s parole hearing, the victim’s sisters argued against Garcia’s early release, calling him a “calculated, cold-blooded murderer.” In 2014, the parole board had decreased Garcia’s sentence by a year—with a potential release date of 2025. At Wednesday’s hearing, the Florida Commission on Offender Review decided to keep that date in place for now, but agreed to review the case again in 2020.

Stay tuned to Friday's Capital Report for more on this story.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.