Jasper County man convicted for strangulation of girlfriend

Jasper County man convicted for strangulation of girlfriend
(source: 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office)

JASPER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A Jasper County man has been sentenced for strangling his live-in girlfriend during a fight over photos found on his cellphone.

Samual Gonzales was found guilty of murder Wednesday and sentenced to 37 years in prison.

Gonzales killed Marycruz Casillas Sotelo, his girlfriend and the mother of the couple's 3-month-old child, in August 2016 according to a press release.

"This was a brutal domestic homicide," Hunter Swanson of the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office said. "He has shown no remorse and has forever torn the fabric of Marycruz's family."

Authorities were alerted to the crime by Gonzalez's co-worker on Aug 8, 2016. The co-worker told authorities Gonzales called to tell them he wouldn't be at work that day because he had killed his girlfriend the night before.

When law enforcement arrived at the couple's house, Gonzales was reportedly waiting for them on his front porch. Inside the home, officers reportedly found Sotelo's body on a living room couch, covered in several towels and a blanket.

Gonzales told investigators the couple had been fighting for a few days over photos of an old girlfriend that Sotelo found on Gonzalez's cellphone. He told authorities that on the night of Sotelo's death, the argument became heated and he headbutted her when she came at him. Sotelo fell to the couch and Gonzales got on top of her, grabbing her throat.

After a while, Gonzalez told investigators, he realized his girlfriend was no longer fighting back and was dead.

Gonzales told authorities that after realizing what he had done, he tried to hang himself, however, the rope he threw over a tree limb outside the home snapped.

Gonzalez had been on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold since his arrest and is likely to be deported after serving his sentence.

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