The Maryland Court of Appeals upheld a murder conviction for a Germantown man for his role in killing two Northwest High School students in 2017.
The state’s highest court released its opinion Thursday affirming second-degree murder convictions for Roger Garcia, 24, for his part in killing Artem Zibarov, 18, and Shadi Najjar, 17, according to the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office (MCSAO). The victims were shot while they sat in a parked car in Montgomery Village on June 5, 2017 — the eve of their high school graduation.
“At issue was whether a valid legal foundation exists to convict a defendant of second-degree intent to kill murder, as an accessory before the fact,” per the MCSAO. The Court of Special Appeals held it is “conceivable for an accessory before the fact to aid, on impulse and without premeditation, another in the commission of a homicide with the intent to kill,” according to the MCSAO, and the higher Court of Appeals affirmed the decision Thursday. Garcia will continue to serve his 100-year prison sentence. He is one of four co-defendants.
“Following this latest opinion, the convictions of all four co-defendants in the murders of two high school seniors in our community have been affirmed in the appeals process,” said State’s Attorney John McCarthy in a statement. “Roger Garcia and the others who played a role in taking these young lives are being held responsible. Justice is served by the court’s decision. Though it will not bring the teenagers back, we hope this provides some relief for the families of Shadi Ali Najjar and Artem Ziberov. Our hearts remain with them today.”