OAKLAND -- An Alameda County jury on Thursday convicted a Modesto man of killing a 24-year-old Livermore mother 12 years ago, a verdict that led to the defendant's mother being arrested for a courtroom outburst.
Bryan Davis, also known as Bryan Vulgamore, dropped and shook his head as he was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Cecilia Garcia, who was found strangled and drowned in a running shower in her Livermore home on Jan. 8, 2002. Davis was arrested eight years later, once Livermore police took a second look at the formerly stalled investigation.
"Just so unreal, just so unreal," Davis' mother shouted in the courtroom after the verdict was read. Speaking to deputy district attorney Mark Melton, she said, "They (the jurors) don't know what you didn't tell them." Her cries could be heard from the hallway as bailiffs placed her under arrest for contempt of court.
Melton argued that Davis, a family friend of the victim, was on a methamphetamine bender when he attacked Garcia in her bedroom and then put her in the shower to wash off his DNA.
A friend of Davis' told police that Davis said that Garcia stopped breathing after she slipped and hit her nose on a bathroom counter when he tried to stop her from answering the door when they were "sexually messing around." Defense attorney Brian Hong had asked jurors for an acquittal and argued that Davis' friend had lied about the alleged admission and a claim that Davis created a false alibi.
About 20 of Garcia's family members stood in the hallway hugging and crying after the verdicts were read. Garcia's 20-year-old daughter and her grandfather and aunt were too overwhelmed to speak.
"It's been 12 years," said Aaron Cortez, the husband of one of Garcia's cousins. "Obviously, no justice can bring back our loved one, but we want to thank Livermore PD and the DA Mark Melton. They worked very hard on getting this verdict for us.
"We've been praying that the jury would make the right choice," Cortez said. "It's closure."
Davis faces 15 years to life in prison at his sentencing Aug. 14.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.