MISSOULA — A Missoula County jury on Monday found a man guilty of deliberate homicide in the December 2015 death of his girlfriend, whose body was found southwest of the city.
Charlie Ann Wyrick, 26, was beaten and stabbed in the chest, and her body was found at the bottom of a ravine near Pattee Canyon. Her best friend told police where to search after Wyrick went missing because she said Wyrick had told her that’s where she’d end up.
In closing statements Monday morning, deputy county attorney Jordan Kilby reminded jurors that friends and co-workers testified that Wyrick told them Emmanuel Flores Gomez had beaten and threatened to kill her. Wyrick’s blood was found in Gomez’s vehicle, and GPS data from his cellphone indicated he was in Pattee Canyon the morning that Wyrick disappeared, Kilby said.
“You have the opportunity to hold the defendant accountable for the storm that he’s caused,” Kilby said. “Tell Mr. Gomez that he cannot get away with murder.”
Defense attorney Lisa Kauffman argued investigators had zeroed in on Gomez as the suspect and “put a spin on innocent behaviors,” to make it appear that he was guilty, the Missoulian reported.
Kauffman pointed to text messages between Gomez and Wyrick saying they loved each other, arguing that Wyrick was not afraid of Gomez.
“If all these people were so concerned about Charlie’s welfare, if all these people had heard that she had a boyfriend who said he was going to kill her and dump her body and do all these horrible things, then why didn’t anyone, anywhere, family, friends, co-workers, call the police?” Kauffman asked jurors, KGVO-AM reported. “Not one single person who came in here to tell you how scary it was, how brutally he beat her, nobody thought it was serious enough to call the police.”
Gomez also was convicted of misdemeanor partner or family member assault for an earlier assault on Wyrick.