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Convicted Killer Who Disrupted Previous Sentencing By Grabbing For Deputy's Gun Gets Life in Prison

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A man convicted last month in a Philadelphia courtroom of killing another man while stealing his designer headphones was sentenced today to the mandatory life in prison.

And officials note that today's proceeding was far calmer than the one during which the defendant went berserk, grabbing for a courtroom deputy's gun before being subdued.

Last month, after being convicted of murder, 21-year-old Arkel Garcia suddenly stood up, knocking over his chair.  He then cursed at a deputy.

As sergeant Robert Castelli reached to grab Garcia, Garcia went wild.  Other deputies and police officers in the packed courtroom rushed up to help.

And as Garcia was overpowered and moved into an adjoining holding area, prosecutor Brendan O'Malley says, Garcia went for the sergeant's gun.

"Witness statements indicate there was a struggle for the sheriff's weapon, that Arkel Garcia had his hand on the sheriff's weapon.  And it was quite a struggle," O'Malley tells KYW Newsradio.

The safety strap that keeps the gun in the holster was actually unsnapped but, O'Mallley says, Garcia's hand was forced from the gun and the situation brought under control.

Garcia, cuffed and surrounded by four deputies, was quiet this time as the judge formally imposed the mandatory life sentence that had been previously delayed.

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