Open Court: Man accused of beating 5-year-old boy to death heading to trial

Daniel Garcia trial to begin on Tuesday, May 21; KSAT will stream proceedings

SAN ANTONIO – The high-profile case of a man accused of the death of a 5-year-old boy is set to begin trial. KSAT 12 will be livestreaming Garcia’s trial on KSAT Plus and

Daniel Garcia is accused of physically beating to death Domenic Aguilar-Acevedo back in July 2021.

Garcia at the time was dating the boy’s mother, Nickolle Aguilar, who was also charged in this case.

Garcia was first charged with murder but prosecutors are taking him to trial on the charge of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury.

That charge is still a first-degree felony and the punishment range is the same, but the jury could consider the possibility of probation. For murder, probation is not an option.

Alleged abuse precedes couple burying Domenic in Colorado ravine

Details in this section about the alleged abuse are disturbing.

(Left) Daniel Garcia, 26, and the boy’s mother, Nickolle Christina Aguilar, 25, both face a felony charge of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury-death. (Palm Beach County/Miami-Dade County Sheriff's Offices)

On July 24, 2021, Nickolle Aguilar told authorities while they were at an extended stay hotel in the 6900 block of Interstate 35 North, Garcia struck the boy with so much force that he bounced off the wall and hit the floor, the affidavit states.

The boy vomited a black and brown liquid after the abuse started in San Antonio, the affidavit states.

The couple left the hotel days before their scheduled departure and did not properly check out, records show.

The affidavit states that surveillance footage from the hotel shows Garcia carrying what appeared to be a lifeless body out of the hotel room.

Aguilar said she didn’t report the abuse because she was “too eager” to be in a relationship with Garcia, records show.

When asked why they didn’t report the boy’s death, she responded that the couple was worried about losing custody of their other children.

Aguilar said she and Garcia then drove to Colorado the next morning with the body and camped near the Rocky Mountain State Park, records show.

The couple then buried Domenic’s body in a remote location near the campsite and fled by car to Mexico and eventually on to Costa Rica.

Charges filed

Aguilar-Acevedo was found dead on Aug. 25 in Fraser County, Colorado.

Garcia and Aguilar were later arrested in Florida.

Garcia was charged with murder and Aguilar with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury by omission.

They were extradited to Bexar County by the end of that summer.

Heading to trial

The case has been going through the judicial system for almost three years.

At first, both sides were having trouble getting evidence from the FBI.

The judge ordered both the state and defense to meet with federal investigators.

“This whole back and forth is just not going to work,” 226th District Court Judge Velia Meza said. “It’s going to take us five years to get to trial and that’s not happening on my watch.”

By 2024, Meza ordered the case to go to trial and the date for Garcia was set for May 21.

As for Aguilar, she eventually took a plea deal in exchange for her testimony. The maximum punishment she can get is 15 years.

KSAT’s live stream will begin on May 21 at around 10:30 am.

It’s important to note Judge Meza has made a special order and certain witness testimony will not be allowed to be streamed, including that of Acevedo-Aguilar’s young sister who may have witnessed his death.

You can watch the trial on, KSAT Plus and KSAT’s YouTube channel.

. (KSAT)

About the Authors

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.

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