Suspect in Willmar Rape also Charged in Texas Homicide 09 Oct 12

A 21-year-old Texas man charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct for the July 29th sexual assault of a teenage girl in Willmar is also charged with capital murder for the August 2011 killing of an elderly woman in Tulia, Texas.

The West Central Tribune reports Esequiel Gomez Jr. made his first appearance Monday on the felony sex charge in Kandiyohi County District Court.

Judge Michael Thompson set unconditional bail at $1 million during the arraignment hearing. Gomez, who is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail, is scheduled to make his next court appearance October 15th.

According to information from Kandiyohi County Attorney Jenna Fischer, the 14-year-old girl in the Willmar case identified Gomez as her alleged attacker in a photo line-up prepared by Willmar police. She also submitted to a sexual assault examination at Rice

Memorial Hospital. The DNA recovered from her was sent to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and then was entered into the nationwide database of crime scene DNA.

According to the Tulia Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab linked DNA evidence collected from the scene of the murder of 84-year-old Imogene Harris to the DNA collected in the sexual assault investigation in Willmar.

Harris was found dead in her residence on August 14th, 2011, in Tulia, Texas, in Swisher County in the northern panhandle of the state. The cause of death was blunt force trauma.