Love & Violation

When Bridget Garcia came to work for Regina Greenhill, the two couldn't have been closer. Life couldn't have been sweeter. Then the nightmare descended.

One afternoon Bridget was in the kitchen preparing chicken for supper. As usual she wore her white nurse's uniform. She had removed her overcoat, which resembles a doctor's lab coat, and hung it on a kitchen chair. Her uniform blouse was decorated with pale flowers and butterflies. Daniel walked into the narrow kitchen while her back was turned to him. “He came up behind me and started touching me to the sink like this,” she says, using her body to illustrate being pinned against the countertop. “I just pushed his elbows away. He said, “Don't take me serious.'

“He came back the same day and put his hand under my uniform and started touching my breast,” she continues. “Then he wrote a note and stuck it in my breast pocket. I have the paper; let me get it for you.” She retrieves a note, handwritten on a patch of lined white notebook paper. It is a recommendation to read two books on the study of past lives: Many Lives, Many Masters and Through Time into Healing. Both books were written by Miami-based psychiatrist Brian L. Weiss.

“He told me if I got these books he can pray with me and help me. If I am sick he can heal me,” Bridget remembers. “I was cleaning chicken, you know, and some of the chicken fell on the floor. He said to just calm down, just calm down. He saw I was very angry. I put the chicken in the garbage. I thought he was crazy. I was shocked. I was surprised, angry. I said to him, “What do you think you are doing?' He said, “I'm just admiring you.'”

Chief Tom Ribel remains absolutely convinced of Bridget's guilt
Miami Herald photo
Chief Tom Ribel remains absolutely convinced of Bridget's guilt

Daniel soon left the apartment to fetch the mail, Bridget recounts. When Regina woke up, Bridget told her what had happened. “She said, “Honey, he's only joking.' I said, “Joking!' She said he plays around a lot, he fools around a lot. She said she would speak to him, which she did. She asked him why he did it. She said, “Don't you do that to her again. Don't touch her.'”

Two days later Daniel pulled the same stunt, Bridget maintains. She was standing at the counter preparing ground beef for dinner. With her back turned to Daniel, he slipped into the kitchen and again put his hands inside her uniform, she says, on her breasts and down her pants. “I turned around and slapped him,” Bridget recalls. “He keeps saying, “Calm down, calm down.' That's all he keeps saying. When I slapped him he says, “What was this about?' Regina was sleeping and I woke her up. Gina called him in right away. She was very angry at him, very angry at her son. She said, “If it happens one more time, I'm going to ask you to leave my house.' He didn't deny it. His face was red when I told her about it. He said, “I'm sorry, Mom. I'm sorry, Bridget.'”

Even after this alleged second assault, Bridget stayed at the condo working for Regina. She figured that Regina hadn't done anything wrong to her and that the elderly woman still needed her help. She believed she could just ignore Daniel, work around him somehow. “When I cooked I used to put food on the table for Gina and him and I, but I didn't do that no more,” she says. “Now I'd just go sit out on the balcony until they were done. There was a tension and I knew in her heart it was bothering Regina as much as it was bothering me. But I couldn't sit at the same table with Daniel. I could not. I couldn't do it.”

On October 10 Bridget went to the condominium as always. When lunch concluded, she put Regina to bed and returned to the kitchen to clean the dishes and prepare supper. Daniel waited in the living room while she cooked. The following is her version of what happened, an account also contained in police reports:

“I guess he had something planned which I never thought of. I finished cooking dinner and I went out toward the balcony. I was going to just sit out there. As I was walking to the porch, he came around at a different angle and he blocked the door with his arm.

“I said, “What are you doing?' and he said, “Don't go on the porch; come sit, I want to talk.' And I said, “Talk about what?' And he said, “Just sit down; we have to talk.' I said, “No, I have nothing to say.' Then I went to walk back toward the kitchen. He went around fast to the other door and refused to let me walk in the kitchen. He put his hand over the entry again. He has a big strong arm. Then I came back around, but everywhere I walked he kept blocking my entrance. My mind was racing. I didn't know what to do.

“I tried to go back on the porch, but he blocked the entrance. I bent under him to run into the kitchen. That's when he grabbed me and pulled me onto the [open sofa] bed. I cut both of my legs on the iron rails. He tore my blouse I had on. It was ripped and when it came down he tugged at the sleeves. When I started to scream Gina's name, he squeezed my throat so hard that blood came out of my mouth. Gina didn't hear. I knew in my heart she couldn't hear me, because she didn't have her hearing aids on.

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