Man found guilty of fatally beating his ex-girlfriend’s 5-year-old son

Daniel Garcia could face a maximum punishment of life in prison

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County jury on Wednesday found a man guilty of fatally beating his ex-girlfriend’s 5-year-old son.

Jurors deliberated for about 2 1/2 hours before delivering their decision on Daniel Garcia, who is charged in the death of Domenic Aguilar-Acevedo.

The boy died in a San Antonio hotel in July 2021. His remains were found a month later in a ravine in Colorado.

Garcia was originally charged with murder, but prosecutors took him to trial on a charge of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury. Garcia could face a maximum punishment of life in prison. He will be sentenced in August.

Jurors could have also considered three lesser charges against Garcia: Intentionally or knowingly causing bodily injury, second-degree felony, with a maximum punishment ranging of 20 years in prison. A second option is recklessly intentionally or knowing causing bodily injury, a third-degree felony that carries a maximum punishment of 10 years. The third option was misdemeanor assault that carries no jail time, just a fine.

At the time of Domenic’s death, Garcia was dating his mother, Nickolle Aguilar, who is also charged in this case. She testified against Garcia as a part of a plea deal and is charged with injury to a child by omission in exchange for her testimony. The maximum punishment Aguilar can receive is 15 years in prison

Aguilar testified that Garcia told her that she didn’t discipline her son enough.

“(Garcia would) make him take really cold showers, spank him and punch him in the butt,” Aguilar testified. “With close fists.” When the prosecutor asked Aguilar how many times Garcia hit the boy, she replied, “I don’t know a specific number.”

In opening statements, the defense shifted all the blame of Domenic’s death on Aguilar. They listed a timeline of investigations opened against her by Florida Child and Family services about the alleged lack of care she provided to her children. They also mentioned text messages between Aguilar and Garcia in August 2021 after Domenic’s death of her saying how much she loved him.

Garcia’s 7-year-old daughter testified in the trial that she saw the defendant hit the boy, but couldn’t remember where they were when it happened.

When asked about her father, the young girl said she was afraid of him. When asked why, she said because he wasn’t a good person.

Later she was asked if Aguilar did anything wrong she said, “No.”

In closing arguments the defense again shifted all blame to Aguilar.

“Nickolle is a monster not a mother,” defense attorney Michael Gross said.

But the state went back to the surveillance video from the stairwell of a San Antonio hotel. In it you can see Domenic’s health decline and Garcia at one point even tugging at him minutes before he carries him back upstairs unconscious.

“Daniel Garcia is guilty and I ask you find him guilty of the most serious offense,” prosecutor Oscar Salinas said.

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.

Recommended Videos