Man accused of murder at Ann Morrison Park allegedly kicked, stomped victim to death

A 27-year-old man has been arrested on suspected murder and other charges in the death of a 43-year-old man whose body was found in Ann Morrison Park on Thursday morning.

Andrew Ray Garcia was arrested at 1 a.m. and remains in custody at the Ada County Jail on charges of suspected second-degree murder, grand theft and aggravated assault.

The man found dead in Ann Morrison Park on Thursday has been identified as 43-year-old Roque Leon Arellano, according to the Ada County Coroner’s Office. Police said Arellano’s body was found in the southwest corner of the park at around 8:15 a.m. Thursday. The exact cause of Arellano’s death is under investigation.

Garcia appeared in court at 1:30 p.m. before Judge Michael Oths, who set Garcia’s bond at $500,000. According to a criminal complaint against Garcia, he’s accused of “hitting, kicking and/or stomping on Roque Arellano’s head and/or face from which he died.”

He’s also accused of destroying shoes that might have been discovered as evidence in the case.

In court on Friday, Jim Vogt, of the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, said Garcia is homeless and spent the day of Oct. 16 “fighting with multiple individuals from the homeless community throughout the day.”

“He admitted to law enforcement that he fights when he’s angry,” Vogt said during the arraignment.

Prosecutor: Man ‘went too far’ stomping victim

Vogt said Garcia and Arellano got into a verbal altercation on Wednesday.

“According to the defendant, at some point the victim kicked at him,” Vogt said. “The defendant struck him in the face and sort of knocked him to the ground. He then kicked him in the face to keep him from getting up.”

Vogt said Garcia then repeatedly stomped on the victim’s face.

“He admitted he went too far,” Vogt said. “He then left the park but he did revisit the scene at least two more times, the last time looking for his cellphone.”

Vogt argued for a bond of $1 million due to Garcia’s lack of a permanent home or employment, as well as a history of other crimes. Garcia’s public defender, Jacob Newby, did not argue for a different bond.

Garcia remained in custody on Friday afternoon. Oths set a preliminary hearing for Oct. 30 at 8:30 a.m. in front of Judge Michael Lojek.

Garcia involved in other incidents at Ann Morrison

“Officers found evidence linking Garcia to the murder and he was arrested on that charge and booked into the Ada County Jail early Friday morning,” according to a Boise Police Department news release. “He was also found to be in possession of stolen financial transaction cards, which led to one charge of felony grand theft.”

The individual from whom the cards were stolen is also homeless, the prosecutor said during the arraignment.

On Wednesday, there was another incident at Ann Morrison Park in which a shot was fired, but no one was injured and no one was arrested.

According to BPD, Garcia was involved in that as well. “Officers learned that Garcia and another man got into a physical altercation” in the park on Wednesday. Garcia had a BB gun that looked like a real gun, police said, and the other man had a knife.

“There was no evidence to indicate that either of the men used the weapons to harm one another during the altercation,” police said in the release.

They did not have enough evidence to arrest Garcia after that altercation, police said.

“Evidence shows Garcia left the park on Wednesday but returned several hours later,” according to a news release. “Officers have confirmed the other man did not return to the park and he was safe Thursday morning.”

A 2014 arrest for battery

This is not Garcia’s first interaction with law enforcement. In 2014, he was convicted in Ada County of assault or battery on “certain personnel,” and was released from prison in 2016, according to the Idaho Department of Correction. During Garcia’s arraignment on Friday, prosecutor Vogt said the incident involved assault or battery on law enforcement.

Garcia was also convicted of a federal crime in 2017 for being a felon in possession of a firearm, Vogt said. Garcia is still on supervised release for that case.

He was in and out of custody after two parole violations, but then completed his sentence and was last released in September 2018.

Second-degree murder is punishable by up to life in prison, aggravated assault is punishable by up to five years in prison and grand theft is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates later.

Related stories from Idaho Statesman

Reporter Ruth Brown covers the criminal justice and correctional systems in Idaho. She focuses on breaking news, public safety and social justice. Prior to coming to the Idaho Statesman, she was a reporter at the Idaho Press-Tribune, the Bakersfield Californian and the Idaho Falls Post Register.