July 3 murder suspect charged

Authorities allege suspect used a tire iron to strike the victim

Police last week arrested a Watsonville man on suspicion of murder following a three-month investigation into a suspicious death in Morgan Hill.

About 9:40pm July 3, Morgan Hill Police officers responded to the 15000 block of Concord Circle on a report of an unconscious man on the sidewalk, according to police. Officers and paramedics arrived and pronounced the victim dead.

The victim was identified as Curtis Stapleton, 27, of Sunnyvale.

Curtis Stapleton

Authorities from the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner/Coroner’s Office also responded to the scene. Police and the medical examiner’s investigators determined the death was suspicious and began an investigation, according to MHPD.

Police determined that Martin Mason Garcia, 30, of Watsonville, was the last person in Stapleton’s presence before his death. Garcia had been involved in a physical altercation with Stapleton before police were called to the scene, authorities said.

Stapleton and Garcia were co-workers at a nearby business.

Martin Mason Garcia

During the ensuing investigation, MHPD detectives gathered enough evidence to arrest Garcia on suspicion of killing Stapleton, according to police. A $6 million warrant was issued for Garcia, and he was arrested in Watsonville Oct. 2.

Garcia was later booked at Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of murder. The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office charged Garcia with two felony counts: murder and personal use of a deadly weapon, according to Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci. Investigators allege that Garcia used a tire iron to strike Stapleton.

Garcia remains in custody at Santa Clara County Jail in lieu of $6 million bail. His next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 12 at the Morgan Hill Courthouse.

Anyone who has additional information about this incident can call MHPD at (408) 779-2101 or the anonymous tip line at (408) 947-7867.

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