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Forum News Service, Published January 10 2014

Texas man who assaulted Minnesota teen gets life for murdering elderly woman

WILLMAR, Minn. -- A 22-year-old Texas man who sexually assaulted a 14-year-old Willmar girl in 2012 will serve the rest of his life in a Texas prison for murdering an elderly woman there.

Esequiel Gomez Jr. pleaded guilty to murder for the August 2011 killing of Imogene Harris, 84, in Tulia, Texas. According to information from the Texas Rangers received Thursday by Willmar Police Chief David Wyffels, Gomez pleaded before going to trial and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

DNA taken from the Willmar sexual assault victim implicated Gomez in the Harris murder, matching DNA collected from her Texas residence. The cause of the woman’s death was determined to be blunt force trauma.

In October 2012, Gomez was arrested in Texas and returned to Minnesota after the DNA testing linked him to the sexual assault and, subsequently, the murder.

Gomez was sentenced in August in Kandiyohi County District Court to nearly 10 years in prison on a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. He was then sent to the state Department of Corrections and was later extradited to Texas.