Crime

Victim was attacked in his sleep by a roommate, then dumped in an orchard, police say

Tulare County Sheriff’s Office

A Farmersville man was in jail Sunday in connection with the apparent slaying of his roommate, whose body was found over the weekend in rural Tulare County, Farmersville police said in a news release.

The victim was identified Sunday as 25-year-old Brian Alexander Garza. Garza’s body was found Saturday in a rural orchard near Strathmore in Tulare County, authorities said.

Police arrested 26-year-old Alexander Jude Shinn at his Farmersville home on suspicion of murder. He was booked into the Tulare County Jail without bail, according to jail records. There had apparently been growing tensions between Shinn and the Garza. Shinn moved in with Garza and two other men in September, authorities said.

Authorities released grim details Sunday, describing a brutal slaying and what investigators said was an effort to cover up the crime.

Garza was struck multiple times with a chrome bar as he slept on a living room couch. He was kicked, strangled and hit his head on the floor. Police said Shinn drove Garza in an SUV out to the orchard near Strathmore.

Shinn’s arrest came on the heels of a 911 call by Shinn’s other roommates Saturday afternoon reporting a possible kidnapping from the men’s home in the area of the 900 block of Ponderosa Street, police said in a statement. But the story of a kidnapping was apparently made up by Shinn, who arrived back home and told roommates that Garza had been abducted by a lone assailant.

Nobody was at the home when officers arrived, but Shinn appeared a short time later. “Shinn disclosed to officers that he assaulted his roommate in the early morning hours and believed that he may have killed him,” police said.

Farmersville police soon confirmed with deputies that the man found dead near Strathmore was Shinn’s roommate. A chrome bar was also found inside the home along with other evidence that police said linked Shinn to the killing.

In an email, a Tulare County sheriff’s spokeswoman said Garza had signs of blunt force trauma to his upper torso and head. Tattoos and his ID also helped investigators identify him.

Farmersville police are still investigating the case. Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at 559-747-0321. A GoFundme account was created by Garza’s brother top help with funeral expenses.

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado: 559-441-6304, @cres_guez
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