Before allegedly shooting his father on Aug. 9, Oro Valley murder suspect Joseph Paul Garcia filed a name change application with Pima County Superior Court.
A judge approved the change from Joseph Paul Garcia to Joseph Cammette Stuart on July 18. A copy of the court document also showed the judge ordered a new birth certificate for 37-year-old Garcia.
A reason for the name change was not provided on the petition.
Isabel Burruel-Smutzer, of the Pima County Attorney’s office, said the first-degree murder charge is filed under the name Joseph Garcia. Joseph is accused of killing his father, Jose Garcia, 71.
Joseph is scheduled to be arraigned in Pima County Superior Court Friday, Aug. 26. He is currently being held on a $1 million bond in the Pima County Jail.
Oro Valley police found Jose Garcia’s body on Aug. 9, after concerned family members called in a welfare check.
When police arrived at the Garcia residence in the 500 block of West Flaxen Drive, Joseph met them at the door, where he allegedly said his father was inside the garage, according to Oro Valley police.
Officers found the body of the elder Garcia inside the garage. He allegedly died from a gunshot wound to the head.
Jose Garcia’s niece, Lisa Lopez, traveled to Oro Valley from New Mexico after receiving the news.
Lopez said family members were worried about Jose Garcia after he told family members he feared for his safety following a series of fights with his son.
“We knew there were hardships, but we didn’t think Joseph would hurt him,” Lopez said.
Oro Valley police confirmed they responded to two separate domestic violence calls at the home over the last year, but refused to release the records.
“The Pima County Attorney does not want any case report/call for service released related to the Garcia family since prior calls may speak to family history/dynamics. I will be more clear in the future,” said John Teachout, spokesman for the Oro Valley Police Department, in a written statement to The Explorer last week. “The Pima County Attorney has indicated ‘rules were put in place to help make sure that extrajudicial statements do not in any way prejudice the rights of the criminal defendant.’”
Burruel-Smutzer said Pima County Attorney Nicole Green is prosecuting the case.
Lopez said because of continued fights with his son, Jose had taken a trip to New Mexico to stay with her and other family members in late July.
However, seven days after leaving Oro Valley, Jose had to return to care for his wife, who was injured in an accident.
Lopez said her aunt was injured in an accident where Joseph Garcia allegedly ran her over. Lopez said no charges were filed because her aunt allegedly called the incident an accident.
Teachout said police cannot comment “in any way” on the alleged incident due to direction from the Pima County Attorney’s office.
Lopez said her cousin Joseph had been going through a rough time in his life. She described several failures that led him to being an angry man.
Lopez said her cousin passed law school, but failed the bar exam. She said he also had a failed suicide attempt in 2010.
“Over the last year, it just seemed like the situation was getting worse,” she said. “It was like Joseph gave up on life, and he clashed with my uncle.”
Lopez, who said she was close to her uncle, said people are never really prepared for such a tragedy.
“I just want my uncle to be remembered as an amazing, exceptional man,” she said. “He was a hard worker and a good man.”
The shooting death of Jose Garcia marked the first murder in Oro Valley in three years.