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Friday, August 23, 2013

Vanessa Pham's killer gets 49 years

Vanessa Pham
A jury recommended a 49-year prison sentence for Julio Blanco Garcia Aug. 22, just two hours after they found him guilty of first-degree murder for killing Vanessa Pham, age 19, three years ago.

Pham’s body had been found in a car in a ditch on the side of Route 50 in Merrifield with multiple stab wounds a few minutes after her car was captured on a security camera as she was seen exiting the Fairfax Plaza Shopping Center on Gallows Road at about 3 p.m., June 27, 2010.

The case riveted the area, as police could not immediately find a suspect or motive in the murder of Pham, a promising student at an art college in Georgia.

According to news reports about the trial in a Fairfax County courtroom, Pham had just left a nail salon  when Garcia approached her and asked for a ride to the hospital. He had his one-year-old daughter with him.

According to a confession recorded by Fairfax County police after the arrest, Blanco Garcia said he was high on PCP and hallucinating at the time. When Pham drove the wrong way and he feared she was going to call the police, he became angry and stabbed her 13 times with a knife he been planning to use to steal a TV. He then grabbed his baby and escaped out of the sun roof.

Police found a knife in the car but couldn’t find a fingerprint match until Blanco Garcia was arrested for stealing champagne in 2012.  At the time, Blanco Garcia, an undocumented laborer from Guatemala, was living in Seven Corners. During the trial, testimony revealed cell phone records and security cameras that showed he was in the area at the time of the murder, and computer records showed he frequently read news stories about it.


  1. Such a sad loss of a promising young life. A day after Vanessa was found dead, I visited the plaza on Gallows Road where she was last seen. The police were handing out flyers, looking for witnesses who may have seen something. I've been keeping an eye on the case ever since. My heart goes out to Vanessa's mom, who lost her only child. I fear that 49 years is not enough for this monster.

  2. I am glad the man went to jail for 49 years. I am so happy about that. But I feel sorry for Vanessa's mother and her baby. Why come to this country and make some Spanish feel bad. I'm salvadorian neighbor of Guatemala country. But I'm happy that insect will stay at prison for many many years...