A 20-year-old Texas man was sentenced to 25 years in prison after admitting to choking his MacArthur High School prom date in 2014. Eddie Herrera, of Houston, was convicted of first-degree felony assault on 17-year-old Jacqueline Gomez during rough sex.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Gomez was discovered on 17 May 2014 in the hotel room where she died.
Then 18-year-old Herrera told police that he and his mother rented the hotel room, bought two bottles of whiskey and at least 20 pills of prescription painkiller hydrocodone. Then he alleged that he and Gomez drank a bottle and a half of whiskey and a majority of the pills before having consensual sex.
Herrera told police that during sex, Gomez asked him to squeeze her neck. He then passed out next to her and awoke to find she was dead. However, prosecutors claim that the more likely scenario is that Herrera strangled Gomez until she was unconscious during rough sex.
"Eddie Herrera had absolutely no motive and no reason. He did not choke her to death," Herrera's defence attorney Doug O'Brien argued in his closing statement. "He could have just as easily died in that hotel room." Herrera's defence team argued that Gomez died of an overdose, but the medical examiner's office ruled the cause of death "undetermined."
The suspect was not charged with murder but was convicted of assaulting someone in a dating relationship, a first-degree felony. Prosecutors asked for a 40-year sentence, while his lawyer asked for probation. "The facts in this case are horribly tragic," prosecutor Justin Wood argued. "You cannot imagine a more horrific set of circumstances."
Wood added: "With a combination of the alcohol and the hydrocodone, the body was already so depressed that it could not recover from those choking injuries. This is just extremely sad because it could've all been prevented."
The prosecutor also reminded the jury that Herrera called his mother first when he found Gomez dead and the two waited two hours before calling 911. According to CBS News, Herrera's mother, Melissa Ann Martinez, is waiting trial on charges of providing drugs and alcohol to the underaged couple.
<sub>The headline and copy has been amended to reflect that Eddie Herrera was not convicted of killing Jacqueline Gomez.