Then, as prosecutors affirmed their commitment to seeking the death penalty, news hit that the FBI and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department had launched probes into alleged officer misconduct and excessive use of force, further slowing the court timeline as Garcia's defense requested more time to evaluate the possible impact of the investigations on their case.
Reached by phone, Garcia's attorney, Seymour Amster, said they wanted to make sure the death penalty was taken off the table.
“We just had to fully explore these options,” Amster said.
He also thanked prosecutors and the Pavelka family for agreeing to the plea deal.
Attempts to reach Pavelka's parents on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Prosecutors announced in 2004 that they intended to seek the death penalty against Garcia, but agreed to life in prison without parole in exchange for Garcia's plea, Head Deputy William Hodgman, of the district attorney's Target Crimes Division, said in a statement.