Court of appeals denies new appeal in sex abuse case

Jan. 7—An Owensboro man currently serving 70 years in prison on multiple convictions of sexually abusing minors has had yet another appeal rejected by the state Court of Appeals.

Umar G. Garci Yah, 63, previously known as Oscar U. Gonzalez, was sentenced to 70 years in prison in 2012 after a Daviess County jury found Garci Yah guilty of 15 counts of various charges related to sexually abusing juveniles. The offenses occurred over a number of years.

The jury recommended Garci Yah serve 320 years in prison, but, by state law, Daviess Circuit Judge Joe Castlen capped the sentence at the maximum of 70 years.

Garci Yah apparently changed his name in prison, although Department of Corrections records still refer to him as Oscar Gonzalez. He has made multiple attempts to have his conviction overturned and has had previous appeals rejected by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. Other attempts at other relief have been denied by the Circuit Court.

Garci Yah has acted as his own attorney and has issued a blizzard of petitions related to his case since being incarcerated.

The Court of Appeals decision issued Friday stems from various motions Garci Yah filed with the Circuit Court beginning in 2019.

Among other things, Garci Yah argued he was fraudulently convinced to “consent” to be represented by a public defender. Garci Yah claimed his public defender was too overwhelmed with other cases to defend him at trial in 2012 and that the state withheld that information from him.

Garci Yah continued filing various motions, all of which were denied by the Circuit Court in November 2019. Garci Yah then filed a “Demand for Judgement” (which the court assumed was a motion for default judgement) and a motion for summary judgement, which the Circuit Court dismissed in July of 2021. Garci Yah appealed that ruling, leading to Friday’s Court of Appeals opinion.

The appeals court found Garci Yah was attempting to have his charges dismissed by making arguments he has made before — that his public defender was “overworked” and unable to represent him. The Court of Appeals ruled since that argument had previously been heard and rejected, the Circuit Court was right to reject his motions in the July 2021 ruling.

Garci Yah’s appeal was also based on “irrelevant law” to his case, such as the Law of Admiralty, the Court of Appeals ruled. The judges also ruled Garci Yah had failed to establish a claim for relief based on reliable evidence. The appeals judges found the Circuit Court had correctly denied Garci Yah’s motions in its July 2021 ruling.

Garci Yah is incarcerated in the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex in West Liberty. His earliest opportunity for parole is 2031.