January 24, 2011

Accused Maple Ave. Shooter Had Relationship With Victim

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The man arrested for a fatal shooting at 301 Maple Ave., located just south of campus, had a preexisting relationship with the shooting victim, according to court papers. Police arrested Corbin Whyte, a 26-year-old from Ithaca, on Dec. 8 and charged him with second-degree murder for the death of Paul Garcia, 47. Whyte was also charged with first-degree robbery and tampering with physical evidence.Police found the body of Garcia, who lived in Ithaca but had recently moved to New York City, in the parking lot of Maple Hill Apartments in the early morning of Dec. 7. Garcia was shot in the chest. Prior to the shooting, Whyte and Garcia were arguing about Whyte’s interactions with Garcia’s girlfriend and may have had disagreements involving drugs, according to a deposition given by Garcia’s girlfriend. She said she was unsure which of the arguments led to the shooting that night.Whyte went through Garcia’s pockets after the shooting, according to The Ithaca Journal.Garcia had returned to Ithaca the day before his death to visit his girlfriend and their child, according to court documents. He lived with them in Maple Hill Apartments before moving to New York City.Representatives from the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office did not return phone calls on Monday seeking comment on the case.Maple Hill Apartments lies just outside the southern edge of campus, across the street from Cornell’s vegetable crops buildings. On the morning of the shooting, which occurred at around 2 a.m., Cornell Police sent several crime alerts to the University community, one of which urged students near the apartment complex to “shelter in place.”Several students expressed anger in December at receiving multiple alerts so early in the morning, but Vice President for University Communications Thomas Bruce emphasized the need for the messages. “[Cornell Police Chief Kathy Zoner] realizes that the hours and frequency of the text and voice mails may have been disruptive to many last night. We regret the various effects that this necessary action may have had,” Bruce said in a statement.

Original Author: Michael Linhorst