MISSOULA -After just over two hours of deliberation, the jury found 31-year-old Emmanuel Gomez guilty of murdering his 26-year-old girlfriend Charlie Wyrick last December.
Deputy County Attorney Jordan Kilby, and County Attorney Kirsten Pabst recapped their case against Gomez who dated Wyrick for about a year before she was found dead in Pattee Canyon.
“‘If you ever leave me, I’ll kill you.’ That’s what the defendant said to Charlie Wyrick as he grabbed her by the hair, and pulled her back into his vehicle,” Kilby said in court Monday.
The state’s witnesses, including family, friends, law enforcement and medical examiners all testified that they believe Wyrick was a constant victim of domestic abuse, which continued to escalate until her death.
The medical examiner ruled Wyrick’s death a homicide due to stab wounds through the lung and airway, rib fractures, and blood in abdomen. She testified that Wyrick did not die instantly, and could have lived up to four hours after the assault and likely would have survived if she had gotten medical attention.
Defense attorney Lisa Kaufman said in her closing statement that the state asked the jury to make a big leap in convicting Gomez, arguing there was no proof that he, in fact, was the killer.
“Her death has been a terrible, terrible, tragedy,” Kaufman said. “But just as serious of a tragedy, would be to convict the wrong person and send them away for 100 years, and be wrong.”
“I’ll ask you to find justice for Charlie, to find justice for her family,” Kilby said. “And to tell Mr. Gomez, that he cannot get away with murder.”
Gomez faces up to 100 years in prison once he’s sentenced sometime in May. An official date has not yet been set.
MTN Reporter: Don Fisher