Vanessa Pham trial: Jury deliberating Julio Blanco Garcia's fate

Julio Blanco Garcia is accused of killing Vanessa Pham. (Photo: Washington Post)

FAIRFAX COUNTY (WJLA) - Prosecutors say the man accused of killing a 19-year-old college student in Falls Church in 2010 intended to kill her.{ }

In closing arguments, the prosecutor in the high-profile slaying of Vanessa Pham says defendant Julio Blanco Garcia acted with purpose and deliberation.

In a bold move that shocked some watching the proceedings, defense attorney David Bernhard used his closing arguments to sketch his own picture of what happened in Pham's car the moments before Blanco Garcia stabbed her to death.

Bernhard claimed when the defendant pulled the knife, Pham, while driving, grabbed it with both hands.

“They are struggling, he gets cut, in his mind, point counter point, and he loses it and kills her,” he says.

Bernhard compared the defendant to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - that the PCP turned him into another person.

“The defendant committed second degree murder, they didn't prove anything else, they didn't prove premeditation,” he says.

Prosecutors say the evidence is clear.

“There is no doubt when he stabbed Vanessa Pham he intended to
Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Casey Langam questioned how impaired Blanco Garcia could have been when moments earlier grocery store security cameras recorded him putting his infant daughter into a cart and move without any obvious sign of impairment.

They argued he committed willful acts when he managed to open the sunroof to Pham's car, take his daughter, discard Pham's cell phone and his bloody clothes and avoid capture for two and a half years.

Blanco Garcia, in a videotaped interrogation played for the jury on Wednesday, apologized for killing Pham.

“I don’t know what happened. I grabbed the knife. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to,” he says. “I’m not a bad guy, I was just so high that time, I just saw her, I asked her for a ride to the hospital...”

Blanco Garcia is accused of stabbing Vanessa Pham 13 times in 2010 in Falls Church after the victim picked up Blanco Garcia and his infant daughter. Pham’s slaying went unsolved for more than two years.

Police eventually linked Blanco Garcia to the murder after he was arrested for shoplifting and his DNA matched DNA found at Pham’s crime scene, police say.