Carjacked and Kidnapped While Waiting for His Wife at UCLA Hospital
Santa Monica Man to Stand Trial for Kidnapping at UCLA Campus
July 21, 2017
A 43-year-old man pled not guilty Wednesday. A judge ordered Jason Levi Garza to stand trial for allegedly carjacking and kidnapping a man waiting for his wife outside of the UCLA Public Health building, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced.
Santa Monica resident Garza was arraigned today after being held to answer on June 28 for one count of kidnapping for carjacking, carjacking with a firearm, kidnapping, criminal threats and assault with a firearm. Garza was convicted of second-degree robbery in 2011, which is pled since it would be a sentencing enhancement.
Deputy District Attorney Maria Ghobadi said the defendant is scheduled back for a pretrial hearing on Aug. 10 in Department W81 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Airport Branch.
On Oct. 3, 2016, Garza allegedly kidnapped the victim at gunpoint, ordered him to drive to a second location and forced him into the vehicle's trunk, the prosecutor said. According to testimony at the preliminary hearing, the defendant drove around for more than six hours before releasing the hostage in a desolated area of Castaic.
The victim was able to get help after walking for about 1 ½ hours to a freeway call box, the prosecutor added. Garza was tracked down and arrested on Oct. 13, 2016.
The defendant faces a possible maximum sentence of life in state prison with the possibility of parole if convicted as charged. Bail is set at more than $2.1 million.
The victim, a man who was not affiliated with the school, was abducted around 5:30 a.m. October 16th near the Center for Health Sciences building and held for about four hours before being released unharmed, police said. Police recovered the victim's carjacked vehicle, a 2007 Subaru Impreza.