State prison inmate found hanging in cell was serving York County sentence, state says

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
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A man serving prison time for stabbing a woman in York County in 2016 was found hanging in his cell at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill and was later pronounced dead, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Victor Manuel Garcia, 31, was found Sunday by a corrections officer doing a round of security checks in the prison's restricted housing unit, according to the department. The prison in located in Cumberland County.

Garcia — who was hanging from the top bunk in his cell — was immediately placed on the floor, where security staff tried to resuscitate him until the prison's medical staff arrived, according to the corrections department.

A Lower Allen Township EMS ambulance arrived and took over CPR, then transported Garcia to Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, where he was pronounced dead at 3:44 p.m. Sunday, according to the department.

Susan McNaughton, spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections, said Garcia was being housed in a single cell.

State police are investigating, which is a matter of policy, according to the corrections department, and the Cumberland County Coroner's Office will determine the cause and manner of Garcia's death.

Victor Manuel Garcia, 31, was serving a 4.5 to nine-year prison sentence for stabbing a woman. He was found hanging in his cell at SCI Camp Hill on Dec. 13, 2020, and later pronounced dead, according to the PA Dept. of Corrections.

Garcia had been in the custody of the state prison system since Aug. 30, 2018, McNaughton confirmed. He was sent to SCI Retreat in Hunlock Creek, Luzerne County, for a time, she said, then was sent back to SCI Camp Hill on March 5 of this year.

'A life lost': Garcia pleaded guilty May 31, 2018, to the first-degree felony of aggravated assault, according to York County court records.

In exchange for his plea, he was sentenced to 4½ to nine years in state prison and given credit for the 505 days he spent locked up in York County Prison awaiting resolution of his case, court records state.

A mental-health evaluation was also ordered.

His defense attorney in the case, first assistant public defender Clasina Houtman, said it always saddens her to hear that someone has died while serving time in prison. She said Garcia's death is no exception.

"It's a life lost that maybe with rehabilitation could have been a good life after his release," Houtman told The York Dispatch. "Prison conditions are difficult for many people, especially under current COVID-19 conditions."

The background: York City Police have said they arrested Garcia after he held a woman in her York City home for 3½ hours against her will on July 4, 2016.

During that time, he repeatedly stabbed her with a knife, according to police, and threatened to cut off her fingers and cut out her eyes.

The woman's father arrived and was able to get her away from Garcia, according to police, who said she was treated at York Hospital for multiple cuts to her head, arms and hands.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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