LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – A man originally blamed in the fatal stabbings of two young boys told an Atlanta television station Sunday that he would never harm a child and that the boys' father, who is now charged in the killings, tried to frame him.
Gwinnett County police had found the father, Elvis Noe-Garcia, with stab wounds Wednesday outside the house near Lawrenceville, an Atlanta suburb. Three-year-old Bradley Garcia and 1-year-old Edward Garcia were found stabbed to death in the home. Bradley's twin brother was hospitalized with stab wounds.
He told police he was attacked, too, and they arrested 28-year-old Antonio Cardenas-Rico shortly afterward and charged him with murder and assault, based on Noe-Garcia's accusations. But they quickly noticed discrepancies between Noe-Garcia's statement, the evidence and Cardenas-Rico's alibi.
"I would never hurt a child," Cardenas-Rico told WSB-TV in a jailhouse interview. "Why would he do that to his own family, his own kids, his own self? Why was he trying to set me up?"
He said he believes the 23-year-old Noe-Garcia tried to lay the blame on him because Cardenas-Rico was dating Noe-Garcia's ex-girlfriend.
"Yes, I think he planned everything," said Cardenas-Rico.
Police arrested Noe-Garcia Saturday morning and charged him with two counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault. Police say he also stabbed himself. He was ordered held in jail without bond. His defense attorney declined to comment.
Authorities have dropped the murder and assault charges against Cardenas-Rico, but he remains in custody on a charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He admitted that he was in the country illegally and fears being deported.
He said he also worries that his two children who live in Las Vegas "are going to be scared or come out and look at me like some crazy person when I'm not."
Noe-Garcia also is believed to be in the country illegally, police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said.
(This version CORRECTS Corrects minor spelling errors.)