An Oklahoma City jury has found 51-year-old Juanita Gomez guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her daughter.
The murder came to light on August 7, 2016, when Francisco Merlo arrived at the Oklahoma City home that his girlfriend, Geneva Gomez, shared with her mother. He found the body of his 33-year-old girlfriend sprawled on the floor with her arms in the shape of a cross and a crucifix on her chest. Her face had been so badly battered that he had difficulty recognizing it. When he questioned Geneva's mother, Juanita, about what happened, she reportedly only mumbled something about "devil" and "money" and that Geneva was "possessed." She also tried to restrain Francisco in a headlock but he was able to free himself and call police.
Following her arrest, 50-year-old Juanita Gomez told police that she believed her daughter was possessed because she was speaking in tongues in a demonic voice on the night before her death. In her statement, she added that her daughter's eyes were rolled back in her head and that she had threatened to kill her. In explaining the extensive bruising on Geneva's arms and hands, Juanita stated that they were caused by her resisting Juanita's attempts to exorcise the devil from her body. S Police then charged her with murder.
During the course of the trial, the jury heard evidence from arresting officers and Francisco Merlo as well as a court-appointed forensic psychologist. The jury was presented with graphic videos of the victim's body as well as descriptions of her injuries, including having a crucifix stuffed down her throat. Though Juanita Gomez had pleaded not guilty, her defense attorney decided against presenting an insanity defense when the psychologist found her fit to stand trial.
The jury has recommended a life sentence without parole.