Home News Gladys Ricart: The Tragic Story of A Bride Gunned Down by Her

Gladys Ricart: The Tragic Story of A Bride Gunned Down by Her

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Gladys Ricart was a 39-year-old accountant who had a bright future ahead of her. She was in love with James Preston Jr., a man she met at a church retreat, and was looking forward to marrying him on September 26, 1999. However, her dream wedding turned into a nightmare when her ex-boyfriend, Agustin Garcia, showed up at her home in Ridgefield, New Jersey, and shot her three times in front of her family and friends.

gladys ricart
gladys ricart

A Violent End to a Toxic Relationship

Garcia and Ricart had dated for about three years, but their relationship was far from perfect. Garcia, a prominent businessman and community leader in Washington Heights, New York, was married and had children with another woman. He also had a history of domestic violence and cheating on Ricart. Ricart eventually broke up with him in early 1999, after she found out that he was seeing another woman.

Garcia did not accept the breakup and became obsessed with Ricart. He stalked her, harassed her, and threatened to kill her if she ever married someone else. He even hired a private investigator to spy on her and find out about her wedding plans. Ricart tried to get a restraining order against him, but the police did not take her seriously.

A Fatal Encounter on a Joyful Day

On the day of her wedding, Ricart was radiant and happy. She had already put on her white gown and was posing for pictures with her nine bridesmaids in the living room of her house. Her fiancé, Preston, was waiting for her at the church, along with hundreds of guests.

Around 4 p.m., Garcia arrived at the house, dressed in a suit and carrying a briefcase. He claimed that he wanted to congratulate Ricart and give her a gift. He was let in by one of Ricart’s relatives, who did not recognize him. As soon as he saw Ricart, he pulled out a .38 caliber revolver from his briefcase and shot her three times in the chest. He then calmly walked out of the house and surrendered to the police.

The whole scene was captured on video by one of the bridesmaids, who was holding a camcorder. The video showed Ricart falling to the ground, bleeding profusely, while her bridesmaids screamed in horror. Ricart was pronounced dead at the scene.

A Life Sentence for a Cold-Blooded Killer

Garcia was charged with first-degree murder and faced the death penalty. His trial began in 2001 and lasted for six weeks. His defense team argued that he acted on impulse and was mentally unstable due to his love for Ricart. They also claimed that he did not know about Ricart’s wedding and that he was provoked by seeing her in her bridal gown.

The prosecution presented evidence that Garcia had planned the murder for months and that he knew exactly what he was doing. They also showed the video of the shooting to the jury, which had a powerful impact on them. The jury deliberated for less than two hours and found Garcia guilty of murder.

In 2002, Garcia was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He is currently incarcerated at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. He has never expressed any remorse for his crime.

A Legacy of Awareness and Advocacy

Ricart’s death shocked and saddened many people, especially in the Dominican community, where she and Garcia were both from. Her family and friends organized vigils, marches, and rallies to honor her memory and to raise awareness about domestic violence. They also founded the Gladys Ricart Brides’ March Against Domestic Violence, an annual event that takes place on September 26th every year since 2001.

The march involves hundreds of women wearing wedding dresses or white outfits, walking from Washington Heights to Bronx County Courthouse in New York City. The marchers carry signs with the names and pictures of victims of domestic violence, as well as banners with messages such as “Stop the Silence” and “Love Should Not Hurt”. The march aims to empower survivors, educate the public, and demand justice for those who have lost their lives to abusive partners.

Ricart’s story has also been featured in several documentaries, books, and articles, as well as an episode of Investigation Discovery’s ‘Primal Instinct: Red Wedding’. Her story has inspired many people to speak out against domestic violence and to seek help if they are in danger.

Ricart’s life was cut short by a man who claimed to love her but only wanted to control her. She did not deserve to die on what should have been the happiest day of her life. She deserved to live out her dreams with the man she truly loved. She deserved to be remembered as a beautiful, kind, and courageous woman who touched many lives. She deserved to be free.

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