Accused murderer pleads not guilty in Oak Harbor slaying

Skagit County attorney Jennifer Bouwens stands next to Christopher Malaga

The man accused of shooting and killing Oak Harbor resident Adam Garcia appeared in court for the second time Monday afternoon.

Christopher Malaga, 23, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

Malaga is being held in Island County jail on $1-million bail.

He appeared in Island County Superior Court clad in orange jail attire and spoke in a soft voice.

Malaga is being represented by Skagit County attorney Jennifer Bouwens.

Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks previously said that Malaga had been “couch surfing” at Garcia’s home prior to the Oct. 18 shooting, but they got into an argument and Garcia evicted him.

Garcia, Malaga and two others met at the corner of Southwest Castillian and Fairhaven drives at around 3 a.m. for an alleged drug deal. After the exchange, Malaga confronted Garcia and pointed a gun at him, according to the police report.

Garcia’s friend got in the middle of the two. His friend later told police that Garcia went back toward Malaga again and Malaga shot him in the face, the report states.

The Oak Harbor Police Department led a team of law enforcement authorities, including the U.S. Marshal’s Service, on a hunt for Malaga. He was arrested in Bellingham three days later.

Court records show that Malaga has a juvenile history of misdemeanor drug and theft charges. He was from Toms River, N.J., but moved to Whidbey Island about nine months ago; he didn’t have a permanent address but had been living with friends, according to the police.