Two Winston-Salem brothers will be heading to prison for at least the next 15 years after they were convicted Monday of killing a 16-year-old boy.
Abdul-Aziz Hanif Sears and Tylen Jibreel Sears are both 20. They each pleaded guilty Monday afternoon in Forsyth Superior Court to a charge of second-degree murder. They initially had been facing first-degree murder.
As part of a plea arrangement, Judge David Hall of Forsyth Superior Court sentenced each to between a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 19 years in prison.
They were accused of killing Jonathan Armando Garcia on May 25, 2018. At the time, the two brothers were 17, Assistant District Attorney Belinda Foster said in court.
Foster said that Tylen Sears had contacted Bryant Noyola to buy marijuana and arranged to meet at a vacant house in the 4800 block of Regalwood Drive.
But the ultimate plan, Foster said, was for the Searses to rob Noyola. They brought no cash to the meeting, she said. And on the way, Tylen and Abdul Sears got a semi-automatic gun from a 15-year-old friend named Flash.
Foster said Garcia showed up to the vacant house with Noyola. Garcia had a gun.
Tylen Sears and Noyola started fighting each other, and Garcia and Abdul Sears got into a fight in another room. Shots were fired, but prosecutors were never able to determine who shot first — Garcia or Abdul Sears.
Both men were shot. Abdul Sears was shot four times, and he spent time in the hospital afterward as doctors removed shrapnel from his head.
Garcia was also shot multiple times and died from a gunshot wound to the chest, Foster said.
After the shooting, Noyola dragged Garcia to a car in an attempt to get Garcia to a hospital but couldn’t make it. He stayed with Garcia, who was declared dead at the scene.
Foster read a statement from Garcia’s mother, Ana Garcia. In that statement, she said she feels like she is serving a life sentence because of her son’s death. He had goals that he will never achieve, she said.
Julie Boyer, attorney for Abdul Sears, said this was a tragedy that involved four teenagers, who, like many juveniles, don’t have the brain development necessary to consider the long-term consequences of their actions.
If the case had gone to trial, Boyer said there would have been sufficient evidence to show that Garcia was the aggressor and shot Abdul Sears multiple times.
She also said that Abdul Sears had been trying to transfer from his high school because he knew that his brother was a bad influence on him.
Paul James, Tylen Sears’ attorney, said his client made a statement to police and noted that multiple gunshots were fired by both sides.
Tylen Sears apologized to Garcia’s family after he was sentenced.
“If I could go back, I would,” he said.