A collective sigh of relief in B-town today after the killer of Burbank Police Officer, Matthew Pavelka, was sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, as part of a plea bargain to avoid the death penalty. This morning during a hearing, 28-year-old David Garcia reportedly pleaded guilty to first degree murder in the shooting death of Officer Pavelka and attempted murder, for the wounding of Burbank Police Officer Gregory Campbell. Garcia was immediately sentenced by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry.
Twenty-six year old Pavelka had been on the force less than a year, when he lost his life during a gun battle with two men in the parking lot of the Ramada Inn near the Burbank Airport on November 15, 2003. Garcia’s accomplice, 25-year-old Ramon Aranda was shot and killed and Officer Campbell was seriously wounded, but survived. Garcia fled the scene. An intense manhunt led authorities across the border where Garcia was arrested in Tijuana on November 27, Thanksgiving Day.
Garcia also pleaded guilty to a number of other charges including one count of transportation of methamphetamine, two counts each of possession of a machine gun and possession of an assault weapon and one count of possession of a silencer.
Pavelka was the first Burbank police officer to be killed in the line of duty in more than 40 years.