GoFundMe nixes fundraiser for NJ man charged in sex-choking death
HACKENSACK — GoFundMe has pulled the plug on a campaign to raise money for a Bergen County man charged with killing an intoxicated woman by choking her during sex.
Michael Gaffney, 21, of Maywood, was arrested Saturday and charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of 19-year-old Francis Victoria Garcia, who was found early Saturday morning unconscious and with purple lips in her car.
After his arrest, relatives created and shared a GoFundMe page seeking to raise money for Gaffney’s defense. A woman who identified herself as his cousin on Facebook described the incident as “an unfortunate tragic accident.”
Prosecutors, however, say Gaffney “recklessly” caused the death of Garcia, whose blood-alcohol content was 0.256 — which is more than three times the legal limit for driving.
GoFundMe ended the fundraiser citing a violation of its policy, which prohibits raising money for legal defenses in cases involving fraud, hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination or terrorism. The company reimburses donors who contribute to campaigns that violate terms of service.
The pair had been at a party at a friend’s apartment when they went to her car in the apartment tower’s garage, investigators said.
Gaffney told investigators that they had sex for about 20 minutes, during which he placed his hands around her neck and she passed out, investigators said.
“At some point,” investigators noted in an affidavit of probable cause, he contacted friends in the apartment. A male friend went to the care and noted that her lips were purple and said he could feel air coming out of her nose.
A 911 call was placed at 2:14 a.m. Garcia was pronounced dead at the hospital at 2:58 a.m.
Gaffney told police that he and Garcia had chatted for about a week before the night of the party, when she picked him up at his home on Friday night.
New Jersey 101.5 did not know Tuesday whether Gaffney had an attorney.
At 0.256 BAC, Garcia would likely have been in a stupor or state of confusion, according to American Addiction Centers.
“Standing and walking may require help, as balance and muscle control will have deteriorated significantly. Sensations of pain will change, so if you fall and seriously hurt yourself, you may not notice, and you are less likely to do anything about it,” according to Alcohol.org. “Blackouts begin at this BAC, so you may participate in events that you don’t remember.”
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.