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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

The Christian Jose Gomez Murder Case

      Marua Suarez Cassange, 48, lived with her two sons in a house in Oldsmar, Florida, a town of 13,000 not far from Tampa Bay on the Gulf Coast. At seven-thirty on New Year's Eve 2014, Cassange's older son, Mario Gomez, called 911 after the 26-year-old made a shocking and gruesome discovery in the yard outside his house.

     Lying near the trash can in the side yard, Mario Gomez discovered his mother's decapitated body. Inside the trash can, in a garbage bag, he found her head. Mr. Gomez informed the 911 dispatcher that his younger mentally ill brother, 23-year-old Christian Jose Gomez, had murdered their mother just a few minutes earlier. He had left the house on his bicycle.

     That evening, a few blocks from the murder scene police officers, after a brief foot-chase, took Christian Gomez into custody. This arrest was not the suspect's first contact with the police. In 2013 officers took Gomez into custody for a variety of minor offenses such as loitering, prowling, resisting arrest without violence and disorderly conduct.

     In addition to his troubles with the law, Christian Gomez had recently been committed for psychiatric evaluation. The psychiatrist who diagnosed him as a schizophrenic prescribed anti-psychotic medication. Mr. Gomez had quit taking his medication.

     At the police station Christian Gomez calmly and matter-of-factly told his interrogators that he had been planning to kill his mother for two days. Why? asked one of the detectives. The suspect explained that the victim had infuriated him with her constant nagging about putting some boxes away in the attic. He said he just couldn't take it anymore.

     That evening, in the garage, Gomez used an axe to behead his mother then dispose of her head in the trash can. Because she was too heavy for him to lift he dragged her torso into the side yard. After a futile effort to scrub up the blood in the garage he rode off on his bicycle. His brother was in the house at the time of the murder but had no idea what was going on.

     A local prosecutor charged Christian Gomez with first-degree murder. After officers booked the mentally disturbed man into the Pinellas County Jail the judge denied him bond.

     Gomez, after being incarcerated in a state mental hospital for three years was declared mentally competent to stand trial. In July 2018, facing life in prison, he pleaded guilty in return for a sentence of 25 years behind bars.

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