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Bride Shot Before Wedding

A man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend on her wedding day can't remember much of the incident and says he was jumped at her home by wedding guests, according to his lawyer.

"He doesn't remember the gun going off," attorney Fernando Oliver said of Agustin Garcia, who pleaded innocent Monday to killing Gladys Ricart. Oliver said he may argue Garcia acted in self-defense and is also considering an insanity defense.

At a hearing Monday, prosecutor James Santulli called Garcia "a desperate, desperate man," and said his office may seek the death penalty. Garcia was held on $5 million bail.

"Just like a page out of a fairy tale..."
The wedding invitation.


Ricart, a 39-year-old New York City accountant, was to marry James Preston Jr., 36, on Sunday. The couple met a few months after Ricart ended a seven-year relationship with Garcia.

Dressed in her wedding gown with a lacy top and a shining tiara, Ricart had posed for photographs in her front yard with nine bridesmaids, waving to neighbor Janet Donnelly.

"She looked absolutely gorgeous, radiant," Donnelly said. "Five minutes later, she's dead."

At about 4 p.m., shortly before the wedding, Garcia walked into Ricart's living room wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase, telling guests he was invited, Santulli said.

He pulled a .38-caliber revolver from the briefcase and shot Ricart twice in front of her 20-year-old son and other relatives, Santulli said. Garcia's gun fired three additional times, including one shot that hit Ricart after her brother wrestled Garcia to the floor, he said.

Intended groom James Preston Jr., watches during the bail hearing for the man accused of killing his bride-to-be.

Ricart died of gunshot wounds to the head, spine and upper arm. Her fiance was waiting for her at a Flushing, N.Y., church when she was killed.

Oliver said that Garcia, 47, of North Bergen, N.J., was "jumped by a lot of people" when he walked inside Ricart's home and had not come to kill her.

Neighbors and authorities said Garcia was abusive and violent, and had stalked Ricart after she ended their relationship about nine months ago.

"Nobody liked him," said Donnelly, 48. "The son absolutely hated him."

Despite her engagement, Ricart had been communicating with Garcia "trying to turn him around," friend Joseph Bongiovnni said. Oliver said Garcia and Ricart had spent last weekend together.

After meeting Preston, "she finally found happiness," Bongiovanni said as he looked toward the empty house where Ricart had lived with her mother and son, its railings still decorated with white wedding flowers.

"I guess he wasn't going to let her go," Bongiovanni said of Garcia. "The bastard should rot in hell, I'm telling you. He took a beautiful life."

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