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Charges amended for suspects in 2020 Eau Claire homicide; trials set for February

25-year-old Juan Olivarez and 28-year-old Joe Moya are suspects in a homicide case from 2020 in...
25-year-old Juan Olivarez and 28-year-old Joe Moya are suspects in a homicide case from 2020 in Eau Claire.(WEAU)
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 2:52 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Charges have been amended for one of two men suspected in the shooting death of a man in Eau Claire in 2020.

The Eau Claire County District Attorney’s Office amended its charge of first-degree intentional homicide to first-degree reckless homicide for 25-year-old Juan Olivarez of Chicago.

Olivarez and 28-year-old Joe Moya, also of Chicago, are accused of shooting and killing Edwin Garcia-Smith in March of 2020 in Eau Claire. A jury trial was originally set for December for Moya while Olivarez was scheduled for a jury trial in February after their trials were ordered to be severed, meaning each man would have their own trial, in March 2021 by the Eau Claire County Circuit Court. On Monday, a motion hearing placed both jury trials to occur from Feb. 14 through Feb. 28, 2022. Both suspects had not guilty pleas entered to the original charges of first-degree intentional homicide, while Olivarez had a not guilty plea entered to the new charge of first-degree reckless homicide. Moya also had a not guilty plea entered for his charges after a motion hearing to amend information on all counts Monday.

The official charges against Olivarez are first-degree reckless homicide with the use of a dangerous weapon, felony murder charges for armed robbery and burglary, and three other felony charges of battery and causing reckless injury with the use of a dangerous weapon, all as a party to a crime, for a total of six felony charges. Moya is facing first-degree intentional homicide and aggravated battery charges as a party to a crime, both felonies.

According to Eau Claire County court records, on March 20, 2020, Olivarez, Moya, and another man are accused of breaking into a residence on Kappus Drive in Eau Claire and shooting Edwin Garcia-Smith three times, killing him, while a second gunshot victim, a woman, suffered a leg injury after wrestling with one of the intruders while holding a baby. The baby was not hurt. A cash bond of $1 million was set for Olivarez and Moya. The third homicide suspect, a 22-year-old Illinois man, died in April of 2020.

Moya will have a status conference on Nov. 8, while Olivarez will have a status conference on Nov. 12, both set to appear virtually for the Eau Claire County Circuit Court. Both men are currently being held in the Eau Claire County Jail.

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