Metro-East News

Spilled beer murder suspect served time for breaking Missouri jailer’s jaw

The convenience store where the slaying occurred.
The convenience store where the slaying occurred. News-Democrat

Lamarc R. Garrett, charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a 26-year-old St. Louis man at a Sauget convenience store after a dispute over a spilled beer, previously entered prison in Missouri for relatively minor convictions – before he broke a jailer’s jaw.

Garrett, 33, pleaded guilty to burglary and misdemeanor stealing and was sentenced to five years in prison on Aug. 24, 2007, but was immediately released on probation. He had been convicted for entering an apartment, sitting on the couch, and when the apartment resident came home telling him, “I like your keyboard.”

When the apartment dweller found him and told him to leave, Garrett fled but was caught later that night in possession of a stolen work shirt from a nearby power plant, according to federal court records connected to his appeals.

In September 2008, as he was being placed in a jail cell on a probation violation, Garrett struck the jailer with his fist and broke his jaw in several places. This resulted in a six year sentence to run concurrent with the five years. He had to serve 85 percent and was released on Sept. 3, 2013. He was off parole by July 23, 2015, prison records show.

Garrett remains in custody of the University City, Mo., Police Department on a charge of murdering Oscar C. Carbajal by allegedly shooting him once in the chest with .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol. His bail is set at $1 million.

Sauget Police Chief Patrick Delaney said that about 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, Garrett had pulled up to the Shell convenience store where three men had just purchased a 12 pack of beer. At this early hour, the store cashier was behind a protective shield and payment was made through a slot.

Garrett asked one of the men for a beer, and was told he would first have to pay. Then, the 12 pack slipped to the ground and a can of beer popped open spraying Garrett’s shoe. The suspect then went to his car, obtained the handgun, and shot Carbajal once, killing him. Delaney said Carbajal was not the man who dropped the 12 pack.

“This was a senseless killing,” Delaney said.

In a Missouri prison, according to several writs of habeas corpus Garrett sent to the United States District Court in Missouri, he complained of cruel and unusual treatment over what he stated was his unfair confinement in a strip cell where he was placed on suicide watch.

“I’m suffering mental distress and emotional. I keep getting woke up ... This was sadistically for the purpose of causing pain,” he stated in a hand-written message on a prison complaint form in December 2009 that was among several writs eventually considered by a federal judge. Garrett asked for damages ranging from $2 million to “$32 billion for damage to my brain.”

Garrett alleged he was kept naked in a cell for a week with no access to a shower and that earlier two guards “tortured” him by handcuffing one of his wrists as it was extended out of a food slot and then yanking on it. The federal judge denied his claims, ruling that they should have first been presented in state court.

The Missouri Court of Appeals earlier rejected his appeal for his burglary, theft and assault convictions. He had complained of ineffective counsel.

Contact reporter George Pawlaczyk at or 618-239-2625. Follow him on Twitter: @gapawlaczyk.