Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Suspects in murder of Mérida American expat indicted and ordered to stand trial

Court finds sufficient evidence for trial in brutal stabbing of Pennsylvania man

*Update below*
Mérida, Yucatán -
Four men who are suspects in the murder of former Arizona resident Robert Leon Wickard have been ordered to stand trial after a local criminal judge Monday found enough evidence to proceed with the case.

On May 29 the judge ordered that Martín Alejandro Gómez Gómez, 26, Gianri Lorenzo Matos Montalvo, 18, Edward Jesús Gamboa Salas, 36 and David Wilfrido Pérez Morán, 26, be held for 30 days while the case was investigated. Yesterday (June 25) he ruled there is "sufficient evidence of the commission of the crime of homicide" to warrant a trial. A fifth suspect, Angel Javier Segovia Domínguez, remains at large and is being sought. Monday's ruling is the functional equivalent of an indictment or probable cause finding in the U.S. legal system.

Martín Gómez Gómez, originally from Veracruz and one of the two men whom police think stabbed Wickard, is a prostitute. Lorenzo Matos Montalvo, a/k/a "Janet," is a transvestite. Angel Segovia Domínguez became Wickard's lover after the two men met in Campeche earlier this year and began living together in Wickard's rented Mérida residence, in the San Sebastian district. Segovia invited the other men to move in with them, which led to tensions, according to statements the men have given to prosecutors and Public Ministry officials. An argument erupted over the housing arrangement, and at least two of the men stabbed Wickard to death. They buried him in an interior garden of the house, and began dividing up and selling or pawning off his personal property.

The men continued to live in the house for more than two weeks. A police patrol checking out a reported residential burglary chanced by the home early on the morning of May 25, and noticed the men hauling a television set out the front door to a waiting taxi. Alerted by the strong odor of the decaying corpse, which was noticeable on the street according to their reports, the police entered the house and dug up Wickard's partially covered body.

Gómez Gómez has told that court that Wickard, whom he described as "a homosexual," was killed a few days before May 13. Wickard, a Pennsylvania native who spent 27 years in the Phoenix area according to family members, was 67 at the time of his death.

In a collateral legal proceeding known as amparo under Mexican law, David Pérez Morán is asking that evidence against him be suppressed, or that the charges be dismissed. Pérez Morán maintains he was unable to communicate with his attorney and that he was mistreated while in law enforcement custody. The other defendants have also claimed that they were "tortured" by police, according to a local press account (Pasan del arraigo a la detención cinco acusados). A different judge will rule later on the men's amparo claims.

There is no constitutional right to bail in Mexico, and defendants are allowed to post bond only in petty cases. The suspects will remain incarcerated until the case is over. In spite of recent major legal reforms criminal trials here often occur in stages, proceed at a snail's pace and may not result in a verdict or decision for months. No trial date has been set.

July 3 - In a surprise development today charges against two of four defendants were dismissed for lack of evidence. Gianri Lorenzo Matos Montalvo, 18, and Edward Jesús Gamboa Salas, 36, were freed after they told the court that they knew nothing about the murder until they were invited to Wickard's house by the other men. By then he was already dead and buried, they claim. Prosecutors were unable to present evidence to the contrary.

Martín Alejandro Gómez Gómez, 26, and David Wilfrido Pérez Morán, 26, remain in police custody, facing charges of robbery and murder. Both have made substantial admissions to prosecutors, according to today's story in Diario de Yucatán. Authorities continue their search for a fifth man, Angel Javier Segovia Domínguez, who was Wickard's lover and one of the men who stabbed him in his San Sebastian district home, according to investigators.

July 3 - Formal prisión dos involucrados en crimen de extranjero gay

Robert Lee Wickard case
Robert Wickard suspects held for 30 days
Four suspects in murder of U.S. citizen set to be arraigned
Gay readers share candid thoughts on gay sex tourism in Mérida
Opinion: A revolting way to die – and to live
American citizen murdered in Mérida died at hands of gay sex partners
U.S. citizen found murdered in Mérida


  1. It seems to me it is taking a long time to find Segovia Domínguez. Is this unusual in Mexico? In the USA they would have probably had him arrested by now.

    Maybe he was murdered as well. After all you only have the word of the 4 people that would that played a part in Wickard's death...?

  2. I suspect that there is more to Segovia Domínguez's involvement than than just the allegations of the other four. He lived (supposedly) with the victim for weeks or months, and there may well be independent evidence to confirm that. I'm sure the police think he's out there, somewhere. But as you suggest, he could indeed be dead.

    As for the "long delay" in tracking him down, the 30 days which have passed since the victim's body was discovered on May 25 is a mere drop in the bucket. The most wanted man in the world is Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo Guzman, boss of the Sinaloa Cartel. He escaped from prison here in January 2001, and is still on the lam more than 11 years later. The U.S. is offering a $5 million reward, and Mexico about a $2 million (USD) reward, for his capture. You'd think that money would tempt somebody. But he hasn't been found yet.

    Segovia Domínguez probably is (or was) a very street-wise person, accustomed to picking up foreign gay partners (U.S. or Canada) and getting whatever he wanted. By now he could be in any one of a thousand places, with a whole new identity, still pursuing the same trade. I doubt that anybody here in Merida is overly concerned about tracking him down. Some might view letting a guy like that move into your home, after meeting him on the street, to be the equivalent of letting a pet rattlesnake loose at night . . . sympathy for the victim, to be sure, but no sympathy for the victim's decision making process.

  3. Yes, probably hooked up with Wickard thinking he had a lot of money. And from the beginning he planned on inviting his buddies to move in with him all the while plotting to steal what he could from Wickard.

    Makes you wonder if these 5 men have done similar things before..

    Just a thought but if you think about them living there 2 weeks while Wickard's body decomposed it seems that would take some "conditioning" to tolerate.

    It seems that killing for these men is nothing unususal and as time goes by this type of violent behavior is the norm for them.

    The more you do something the easier it gets to do without remorse.

    They also were very careless. They had 2 weeks to clean up the crime scene and hide the body. From what I've read Wickard's body wasn't even all the way buried... Is it stupidity or is it that these men are soo used to death and killing that it was just another day.?

    Wickard undoubtedly made some poor decisions to say the least. Was he a sexual predator? Or was he just love starved and lost all common sense? We will probably never know. Sad for all involved.

  4. Sad indeed. Which is why I offered this Opinion piece:


    And why I allowed several readers to "have their say," so to speak, about how they see things in this expat-heavy community:


    Was the victim himself a sexual predator, as you ask? I don't know. But I didn't withhold this plausible piece of evidence, after a reader sent it to MGRR:


  5. I wonder if there is any drugs involved in this case. Was there no autopsy report, specifically over the blood test? I am not saying this is 'gang' related, but there could be more motivation other than money itself. For them to occupy the house and slowly selling the victim's household items is a pretty audacious act done in broad daylight. Probably selling the items for drugs? I know in LA (specifically West Los Angeles) methamphetamine is the drug of choice for the gay population (which suppositively enhances sex drive), and most 'tweakers' tend to dwell in people's homes and later robbing their hosts blind, while on a drug binge. I am just thinking outside the box here. No pun.

  6. "The U.S. is offering a $5 million reward, and Mexico about a $2 million (USD) reward, for his capture. You'd think that money would tempt somebody. But he hasn't been found yet."

    Definitely enough money to be a temptation, but is it enough money to die for? Worth it to spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder while wondering how much longer your head will remain attached to the rest of your body?

    1. Agreed. And not only that, but what if you worked with or were closely associated with El Chapo, and you were already being paid a half million or a million dollars every year to remain loyal to him. It makes the financial offers of the U.S. and Mexico look like pocket change in comparison.

  7. Note July 3 update to this story.