Jury Selection Underway For Emmanuel Gomez Deliberate Homicide Trial
The deliberate homicide trial of 31 year-old Emmanuel Gomez got underway this week with pretrial motions on Tuesday and jury selection Wednesday and possibly into Thursday of this week.
Gomez, who has been in custody since his arrest just after Christmas in 2015, is accused of abducting, beating and killing Charlie Ann Wyrick, and dumping her body in the Deer Creek Drainage.
At his initial appearance in Missoula Justice Court in December of 2015, Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst explained to Judge Orzech why she asked for $1 million bail.
“All three of the reasons why a court would set bail are present in this case,” Pabst said. “First of all, he’s a flight risk, and he has no ties at all to the Missoula community. Secondly, there’s grave risk of destruction of evidence. Already, the investigation has revealed that he has tampered with and destroyed evidence. Finally, and most importantly, he is an extreme community safety risk. The facts set forth in the affidavit before the court indicate the depravity with which this crime was committed, but this was also the culmination of a series of events in crimes against this individual. It is the State’s belief that if he were released for any reason, he would constitute a danger to any woman he became involved with.”
At one point, when Orzech began to explain restrictions to Gomez should he ever be released on bond, one of the family members was heard to say, ‘never..he should never be released.’
According to court records filed by Pabst, the original welfare check on Wyrick was called in to police on Thursday, Dec. 24. Police spoke with co-workers of Wyrick, who said she repeatedly came into work bruised or with other injuries, allegedly by her boyfriend, Gomez. At one point, Pabst said, Wyrick was sent to Community Medical Center where she was treated for bruised ribs and bruising on the right side of her neck. Wyrick told nurses that “her boyfriend beat her up and she did not wish to report it at that time.”
“On Saturday, December 19, 2015, at work, Charlie handed a hand-written note to the same co-worker who made the report of her disappearance. The note stated that if Charlie went missing, the co-worker should contact law enforcement and request they search her house,” Pabst wrote. “That same day, Charlie told the co-worker that Gomez told her he was going to kill her if she ‘pissed him off’ any more. Charlie was scheduled to work on December 21, 22, 23, and 24. She did not show up for any of these shifts, nor did she call to report her absence.”
The last night Wyrick was seen was on Dec. 20 at her brother’s home, but was missing the following morning. On Dec. 21, Missoula police spoke with Gomez and Wyrick’s roommate, who told law enforcement he heard screaming and loud thuds coming from upstairs. The roommate went to confront Gomez, only to find out he escaped in his GMC Yukon. “The roommate observed fresh blood on the front steps and blood in the snow right beside where the door of the Yukon was in the driveway.”
It was also revealed that Gomez was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time the crimes were allegedly committed.
The death penalty will probably not be sought in this case, just as in the murder case of Scott Allan Price in 2016, as Chief Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks explained.
“Not every crime qualifies for the death penalty in the state of Montana,” he said. “There have to be special circumstances that make it qualify. In addition, in my legal view, there probably is no death penalty in Montana currently because of the U.S. Supreme Court invalidating the death penalty statute in another state that is virtually identical to Montana’s, so I don’t think we could impose one until the legislature changes our death penalty statute.”
Testimony in the Gomez trial is scheduled to begin after the jury is impaneled.