Man gets 60 years for strangling teen in Aurora motel bathroom


AURORA | A 24-year-old man has been sentenced to six decades in state prison for the fatal strangulation of his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend at an Aurora motel four years ago.

Arapahoe County District Court Judge Shay Whitaker on Thursday sentenced Arturo Garcia to 60 years behind bars, the maximum sentence allowed under state law, for the killing of Alexandrea Raber on July 2, 2017.

Garcia pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case in April, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Authorities said Garcia strangled Raber in the bathroom of an Aurora motel nine days after he was released from serving a 90-day jail sentence on misdemeanor assault and extortion charges connected to previous domestic attacks against the Aurora teen.

Before her death, Raber, who went by Ally among family and friends, told police the abuse included at least one prior strangulation attempt, kidnapping, several beatings and an attempt to extort her family using private pictures of her.

Garcia was on probation following his 2017 jail release, and investigators found his court paperwork in the same motel room where Raber’s body was eventually found.

“For some reason that little tidbit of fact just stuck with the court,” Whitaker said as she imposed her sentence. “To kind of put no finer point on this: That someone who no sooner had said to accept responsibility for his actions, begun probation on a court case where he had hurt Ally previously, and then to have killed her in a room with that paperwork sitting there on the bed — just spoke volumes.”

Whitaker technically sentenced Garcia to 48 years in prison on the murder charge, and another dozen years of incarceration for a separate case in which he admitted to assaulting Raber. The two sentences will run back to back.

Garcia, who was 20 at the time of Raber’s killing, was able to elude authorities in Mexico for nearly two years after Raber’s death, though he was eventually arrested and extradited to Colorado in early 2019. He has been detained without bail ever since, records show.

In a brief statement, Garcia apologized to Raber’s family and for fleeing authorities.

“I took away Ally’s future,” he said. “I took her family’s happiness away. I can’t imagine the pain that I caused. I’m sorry for running away and not facing the consequences of my actions. I believe I should be punished for what I did, and hopefully me being in prison will bring healing to Ally’s family. I pray every day that they find peace in their hearts.”

Raber’s stepfather, Andy Starrett, said at the hearing that neither Garcia’s statement nor the sentence will prompt him to forgive.

“I hope Arturo understands the magnitude of his actions someday,” he said. “ There is simply no way for him or anyone on the outside to physically feel the pain we have over the last four years. Maybe one day he’ll have my forgiveness, but it’s not gong to be today.”

Following Raber’s death, Starrett founded a nonprofit group dubbed the Ally Remembered Foundation centered on combatting domestic violence.

Garcia will also have to pay for the cost of the prosecution, as well as some $28,000 in therapy fees to her family.

Prosecutors estimated that Garcia will serve a minimum of 45 years of his 60 years sentence before he will be eligible for parole.