(FOX 13) - Advocates for the deaf claim Felix Garcia was framed for murder in 1983 and was unable to follow his own trial because of his hearing problem.
His story has been shared, and his face shown on posters, in rallies for the disabled on the capitol steps.
We interviewed Felix Garcia from a prison in North Florida before he was transferred to a prison in Virginia.
He lost most of his hearing and requires a sign language interpreter to effectively communicate. But the scope of his hearing loss in 1983 is a matter of dispute. Doctors for the prosecution say he was competent and could hear his trial, while the court-appointed doctor testified that Felix Garcia had up to 70 percent hearing loss.
Garcia's legal advocate, Pat Bliss claimed Felix tried to make it appear as if he understood the proceedings when he really didn't, out of a misguided attempt to appear alert.
"He thinks hearing people are so smart, he wants to compete that he's smart too," said Bliss. "He'd just smile and nod, pretending he understood everything so he wouldn't appear stupid"
Felix Garcia took the stand 34 years ago, answering questions that he later said he couldn't hear or understand. He later said he was unaware that his own family accused him of murder.
"He was played as a patsy and played right into it," said Felix's attorney Reggie Garcia, who is unrelated to Felix. "Felix had no car and certainly no motive, and his wrongful conviction has continuously baffled those of us who have passionately immersed ourselves in his case."
But to prosecutors, Felix Garcia is a killer-who walked into a North Tampa hotel room back in 1981 and shot a guest in the head. His own brother and sister said he did it, and the jury agreed.
Years later, a signed affidavit shows his brother changed his story. Felix's older brother Frank later said he committed the crime. Detectives found 13 of Frank's fingerprints at the crime scene, but no prints from Felix.
Meanwhile, Felix's ex-girlfriend and her mother gave him an alibi the night of the murder. They said he was at their home nearly 6 miles away from the hotel when the killer struck.
But Felix signed a pawn slip for the dead man's ring, and that combined with the testimony sealed his fate.
Felix now claims Frank drove him to a pawn shop and tricked him into signing for the ring. Frank later claimed he framed his little brother to save himself from the electric chair and protect another man named Ray Stanley.
And according to another signed affidavit, their sister, Tina backed that up.
However, his sister Tina told FOX 13 she does not remember signing that affidavit. She said Stanley was not involved and she thinks Felix is guilty.
"Did I sign the affidavit? I do not remember, and I don't believe I signed one," said Tina Daniels "He needs to stop and leave this family alone is what he needs to do,"
Judges have previously considered and denied Felix's request for a new trial. Felix next chance for parole is on Wednesday morning.
"Please. It's the only way the truth will ever come out," said Felix. "The truth is there. It's there!"