She forced a crucifix down her 'possessed' daughter's throat. Now, she's convicted of murder.
Francisco Merlos is still haunted by the image of Geneva Gomez's lifeless body covered in blood - his ex-girlfriend's arms spread out as though she had been crucified, with a large crucifix on her chest, according to court documents.
In 2016 he had come to the North McKinley Avenue house in Oklahoma City to try to win her back two days after they broke up. Gomez's mother, Juanita, answered the door and let him in. Moments later, he saw the body.
"I can just see my girl laying in there, like with her arms out, the crucifix right here," he told Reuters Thursday. "You couldn't even recognize her face at all. Like that's not my girl, you know?"
On Thursday Juanita Gomez, 51, was found guilty of first-degree murder of her 33-year-old daughter - who died after the mother beat her and forced a crucifix down her throat because she believed her child was possessed.
The jury recommended a sentence of life in prison without parole, according to Oklahoma County court officials.
On Tuesday, Merlos testified that, after seeing Geneva Gomez's body, Juanita Gomez put him in a headlock as he tried to leave and mumbled about the "devil" and "money," according to the Oklahoman.
He then called Oklahoma City police, and officers found Geneva Gomez splayed on the floor with marks of severe trauma around her head and face, according to court documents. Emergency responders pronounced Geneva Gomez dead on the scene.
Juanita Gomez later told police she believed her daughter was possessed by the devil, and confessed to punching Geneva Gomez repeatedly and forcing a crucifix and religious medallion down her throat until blood spilled out of her daughter's mouth. After watching her daughter die, Juanita Gomez spread the body out in the shape of a cross. She told police she then tried to clean her daughter and other items in the house.
Police in court documents noted that Juanita Gomez's hands were swollen and her arms were bruised.
"Juanita stated these bruises were from her daughter fighting her attempts to rid Satan from her daughter's body," an Oklahoma City police investigator said in a 2016 court document.
Juanita Gomez had pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. Court records show her defense attorneys planned to offer an insanity defense at trial, but a psychologist found Gomez was feigning memory problems to appear incompetent, the Oklahoman reported.
In his brief opening statement Tuesday, Juanita Gomez's attorney, Nick Southerland, asked jurors to pay close attention to the evidence presented in the case and "not just the accusations," the Oklahoman reported.