Jasper County man convicted for strangulation of live-in girlfriend over pictures on his cellphone

Jasper County man convicted for strangulation of live-in girlfriend over pictures on his cellphone

Ridgeland,SC - On April 25, a Jasper County man has been sentenced to 37 years in prison for strangling his girlfriend during a fight over photos found on his cellphone.

Samuel Gonzalez, 26, was found guilty of murder by a Jasper County General Sessions Court jury on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 after two days of testimony. The jury of eight men and four women could have convicted Gonzalez of manslaughter, a lesser charge, but needed just 17 minutes to find him guilty of murder.

Gonzalez killed Marycruz Casillas Sotelo, his girlfriend and the mother of the couple's 3-month-old child, in August 2016.

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

Authorities were alerted of the crime on August 8, 2016 by Gonzalez's co-worker, who said Gonzalez called to tell him he wouldn't be at work that day because he had killed his girlfriend the night before.

Gonzalez had 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 had snapped.

Gonzalez was denied bond and has 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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