District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said a Hayesville man admitted last week in Clay County Superior Court that three years ago he shot and killed Jordan Ramon Garcia, 20.Caleb Ellis, 20, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. The district attorney said she accepted his plea because of a constitutional issue that involved the defendant’s confession. Following his arrest, Ellis signed his confession; however, the officer mistakenly used an adult-waiver form and not the juvenile-waiver form that state law requires.
“The mixup was inadvertent, but it did factor into the decision to accept a second-degree murder plea,” Welch said. Clay County Sheriff’s Office learned on May 28, 2019, that Garcia was missing. A few days later, Garcia’s grandmother reported smelling an odor at her home in Hayesville. Law enforcement discovered Garcia’s dead body in a gully under metal roofing.
It appeared Ellis had set fire to the body in a failed attempt to dispose of the evidence. In his confession, Ellis said he had been using methamphetamine. He claimed he shot Garcia because, in his drug-induced paranoia, he feared Garcia would shoot him. Garcia died from a gunshot to the base of his skull.
Chief Resident Superior Court Judge Bill Coward sentenced Ellis to serve a minimum sentence of 157 months in prison and a maximum of 201 months. He has 996 days in pretrial confinement.The judge also ordered the defendant to pay a total of $19,358 in attorneys fees and $3,948.80 in restitution. Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Harris prosecuted the case.