OAKLAND -- Cecilia Garcia was a 24-year-old single mother in 2002 when she was found strangled and drowned in a running shower inside her Livermore home.

It took eight years after her mysterious death for authorities to arrest Garcia's family friend Bryan Davis, a 38-year-old Modesto resident who also goes by Bryan Vulgamore.

In opening statement at Davis' murder trial Tuesday, prosecutor Mark Melton told jurors that Davis killed Garcia while on a methamphetamine bender and then told several lies to police to create a false alibi for the time of the Jan. 8, 2002 slaying.

Davis told a friend that Garcia stopped breathing after she slipped and hit her nose on the edge of a bathroom sink when he tried to stop her from answering a knock on the door while they were "sexually messing around," Melton said.

Davis told the friend that he didn't call for help "because it would look like I did it," and instead put her in the shower to wash away DNA evidence, according to Melton.

Defense attorney Brian Hong said Davis' friend lied to police. The friend was a heavy methamphetamine user when he told police about Davis' alleged admission, and that Davis also lied when he said he was with his friend the morning Garcia died.

The video tapes of that friend's 12-hour police interview have disappeared, Hong said, and the police reports on what Davis' friend said are incomplete and misleading. DNA from an unknown person -- and not Davis -- was found under Garcia's fingernails Hong said.


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Davis told police that he went over to Garcia's house that morning to visit puppies that were staying there, but he left around 10 a.m. to go across town with his friend because Garcia had to get ready for a doctor's appointment.

But Garcia called a girlfriend at 10:30 a.m. and told her she just woke up and was go to start getting ready for her appointment. Melton said the evidence indicates that Davis attacked her in her bedroom sometime after 10:30 a.m., and then used a towel to drag her body into the shower.

Both the bathroom and bedroom door locks had to be forced open hours later when Garcia's father and sister, worried that no one had seen her all day, went looking for her. Garcia's sister had spotted Davis at a laundromat by Garcia's Mayten Drive home earlier that day, around the same time he claimed to have been across town, Melton said.

Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.