A 21-year-old New Jersey man, charged in the death of a woman while they were having sex in a car, was released to home confinement with an electronic ankle monitor during a detention hearing on Thursday.
Bergen County Superior Court Judge Margaret Foti had ordered Michael Gaffney, 21, held without bail last month when she learned he had a posted photo to Snapchat after Francis Veronica Garcia, 19, fell unconscious on November 2, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
Thursday’s new order came after defense attorney Adam Lustberg argued that the medical examiner may not have had information from emergency room personnel when he ruled that “compression injuries to the neck” caused Garcia’s death, according to NJ.com.
Lustberg said that paramedics reported Garcia had a large amount of vomit in her airway and that an emergency room physician said that a benzodiazepine overdose caused her death. The medical examiner said Garcia’s blood alcohol level was .256, more than three times New Jersey’s legal limit for driving.
“It was (the doctor’s) final diagnosis. What’s not obvious is whether the medical examiner looked at all that before making his determination,” Lustberg said at the hearing.
Lustberg also showed the court photographs that contradicting prosecutors’ claims that there was a hand-shaped bruise on Garcia’s throat.
Gaffney and Garcia had been at a party prior to leaving to have sex in Garcia’s car. According to court documents, Gaffney told investigators he and Garcia had been having “rough sex” for about 20 minutes when he put his hands around her neck because she wanted to be choked, and she lost consciousness. Later, he contacted friends and told them Garcia wasn’t breathing, CrimeOnline reported.
At the hearing last month, Foti discussed the photo of Garcia’s body allegedly posted to the social media platform and read what Gaffney had reportedly written. “Just (expletive) this bitch. She passed out. I don’t know what to do,” Foti said, reading the post.
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[Featured image: Michael T. Gaffney/Bergen County Prosecutor]