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BEND, OR -- It was an emotional day for the family of Rebekah Gomes, the 23-year old woman shot and killed outside her Redmond home in December. The man accused of her murder changed his plea to guilty, Tuesday.

 

Mario Morataya was charged with Aggravated Murder, Attempted Kidnapping and Unlawful Use of a Weapon. By pleading guilty, Morataya avoids the death penalty. Judge Wells Ashby sentenced Morataya to life in prison. He won't be eligible for parole for at least 30 years. Morataya addressed the judge during sentencing: "Your Honor, apologies, sorry, nothing comes close to what I feel inside. There's nothing I can say."

 

During a Tuesday press conference, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel described about how the 23-year-old man killed Gomes on December 11, 2015. He says Morataya was trying to kidnap her when she rolled out of his pickup. "Morataya slammed on the brakes and put the truck in park. He then methodically, and with the cold-bloodedness of a contract killer, picked up the shotgun. He exited the truck. He walked around the back of the truck, and as he came around the back of the truck he lowered the shotgun, took aim and shot Rebekah in the back, killing her. This incident was witnessed by one person: Rebekah's five-year-old son." Attorneys say Morataya decided to plead guilty to all charges after hearing the young boy had witnessed the shooting. 

 

Gomes' father Randy Wallace spoke during the hearing, "We're all extremely traumatized by the crime. We don't hate Mr. Morataya; he's our enemy. But, we've been commanded to love him, and we do forgive him. His life is lost and his options have put him in a position that he has no way out." Following the sentencing, Deeana Wallace expressed gratitude to prosecutors and those who investigated her daughter's murder, "Actually, the words 'thank you' aren't enough for our gratefulness for how this case was handled. It was the most traumatic thing we've ever experienced, the most painful thing our family has experienced, and we're really thankful for the outcome and extremely thankful for this team."

 

 
 

 

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