Report: Bullet that killed New Mexico Mennonite woman fired from airman’s rifle

New Mexico News

FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – Authorities say the bullet that killed a Mennonite woman from Farmington belonged to the gun of the airman charged in her murder. Sasha Krause, 27, disappeared from a Mennonite community near Farmington in January. Deputies found her shot dead at a campground outside of Flagstaff, Arizona in February.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona says they’re still waiting on results for DNA taken from Krause’s fingernails and neck but the sheriff’s office says it will not release results of a rape exam kit to protect Krause’s privacy.

An autopsy determined Krause, who previously was a school teacher in Texas, died of a gunshot wound to the head and had suffered blunt force trauma. They arrested Mark Gooch, an Air Force airman, and now say crime lab tests show the bullet matches a .22-caliber rifle that belonged to him, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said.

Gooch’s attorney, Matthew Springer, didn’t immediately respond to a message left at his office Wednesday. Gooch has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

Gooch’s older brother, Samuel, was arrested in the Phoenix area in early May after he flew to Arizona from Wisconsin to pick up what he thought was the rifle used in the killing, authorities said. A grand jury in Coconino County later indicted him on a single felony charge of attempting to hinder prosecution, according to the sheriff’s office.

Samuel is not in custody and is not clear if he has an attorney to speak on his behalf.

Jon Paxton, a spokesman for the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, said Samuel Gooch recently was served with the indictment and no court dates have been set.

One of Mark Gooch’s friends told authorities that Mark Gooch asked him to store a .22-caliber rifle because he wasn’t allowed to have it at Luke Air Force base where he was stationed in metropolitan Phoenix. Authorities seized the weapon, replaced it with a nearly identical one and waited for Samuel Gooch to pick it up before arresting him, the sheriff’s office said.

Samuel Gooch told a sheriff’s detective after his arrest that Mark Gooch never asked him to get rid of the gun.

“I made some hard decisions and we’ll see where this goes,” Samuel Gooch said, according to an audio recording of the interview.

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