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Courts / Law

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

Pat Bliss (right) talking to reporters, following Wednesday's parole hearing for Felix Garcia. Bliss has been advocating for the deaf inmate for 22 years.
Pat Bliss (right) talking to reporters, following Wednesday's parole hearing for Felix Garcia. Bliss has been advocating for the deaf inmate for 22 years.
Pat Bliss (right) talking to reporters, following Wednesday's parole hearing for Felix Garcia. Bliss has been advocating for the deaf inmate for 22 years.
Credit Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM
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Pat Bliss (right) talking to reporters, following Wednesday's parole hearing for Felix Garcia. Bliss has been advocating for the deaf inmate for 22 years.

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 .

Copyright 2020 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

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