A former probation officer and law school graduate accused of fatally shooting his 71-year-old father in the garage of their Oro Valley home was sentenced to 12 years in prison Monday.
Joseph Cammette Stuart, referred to as Joseph Garcia in previous Star stories, was arrested in August 2011 when police responded to the family's home in the 500 block of West Flaxen Drive to check the welfare of Jose Garcia.
Stuart told police they needed to check the garage, where they found Garcia's body.
At the time of the shooting, Stuart, 38, was addicted to prescription medication from having two hip replacements, and had mental health issues that were misdiagnosed and improperly medicated, defense attorney Erin Carrillo told Pima County Superior Court Judge Javier Chon-Lopez at the sentencing hearing.
Stuart, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, was unable to understand the severity of his actions, Carrillo said.
He told the judge he didn't remember pulling the trigger and shooting his father.
Stuart had a traumatic childhood and was physically and emotionally abused by his father. He also witnessed his father abusing his mother, and both parents abused alcohol, Carrillo said.
Despite his difficult upbringing, Stuart made positive strides in his life and graduated from the University of Arizona law school and became a probation officer in Maricopa County, Carrillo said.
"Mr. Stuart has an enormous potential for rehabilitation, he has a huge and bright future ahead of him," Carrillo said.
Since being in jail and being properly diagnosed and treated for his mental health issues, Stuart said he is a different person.
He told the judge that when he is released from prison, he'd like to seek a career in the legal field and work with kids to teach them to stay away from drugs.
Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 573-4224.