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Murder of Councilor Matt Garcia by Gene Coombs and Henry Williams investigated on Suspicious Minds

Mugshots of Gene Coombs and Hemry Williams
Gene Coombs (left) and Henry Williams were found guilty of murdering Fairfield councilor Matt Garcia. Pic credit: Fairfield Police Dept.

Suspicious Minds travels to Fairfield, California, to investigate a tragic case of mistaken identity that led to the murder of city councilor Matt Garcia.

On September 1, 2008, the 22-year-old councilor was standing with a friend in a residential driveway in the Cordelia area of the city when Henry Don Williams stepped out of a car and fired eight shots at him.

Williams and his friend, Gene Allen Combs, had believed that Matt was local drug dealer Ryan Estes, who had ripped both of them off. The dealer had cheated Combs out of $50 earlier that day, and Williams said that he had also recently been cheated out of a bag of drugs.

The pair decided to confront the man at his home and were driven by William’s pregnant girlfriend, Nicole Stewart. Unfortunately, Garcia coincidentally arrived at the same street while the murderous trio was there.

Mistaken identity led to Matt Garcia’s murder

A confused Williams mistook the councilor for Estes and opened fire. Only one of the eight shots fired by Williams actually hit Garcia, but unfortunately, it hit him in the back of the head and ended his life.

The gun had been bought and supplied by Coombs, and the pair got a friend to then dispose of the firearm. Coombs and Williams learned the following day that they had killed a councilor after Coombs saw the news breaking on television.

Coombs then left a voicemail message on Estes’s cellphone, where he stated that those bullets had been meant for him. This was later used as evidence against him.

A week and a half later, Coombs contacted the police to tell them he knew who had killed Matt Garcia. He eventually led detectives to Williams. Nicole Stewart subsequently agreed to testify against her boyfriend.

The two suspects were tried separately. Williams was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 50 years to life. Coombs was found guilty of second-degree murder for aiding and abetting the killing and was sentenced to 15 years to life.

More from Suspicious Minds

Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on Suspicious Minds.

Melissa Henderson began an affair and told her husband, William Henderson, that she wanted a divorce. Rather than accept the situation, William flipped out and brutally murdered his wife. He then paid their children not to say anything to the police.

Qaw’mane Wilson was an aspiring rapper from Chicago who loved to live the rock n roll lifestyle. He liked to flash the cash so much that he arranged to have his mother, Yolanda Holmes, murdered so he could inherit her money.

Suspicious Minds airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

Jerry was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, but is now based in the UK. He specializes in true crime and entertainment news stories. When... read more
Jerry Brown


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