Before she was allegedly stabbed to death by her husband the afternoon of Jan. 29, 2017, Yadira Gomez wanted out of her marriage.
That sentiment was shared multiple times by Christopher “Gilberto” Mendoza, testifying during the first day of the trial for Vicente Roldan-Marron, who is charged with first-degree murder in Gomez' killing.
Gomez was found dead in her Hawthorne Place apartment the morning of Jan. 30, with Roldan-Marron also there, when police did a welfare check on Gomez.
According to court documents, two of Gomez and Roldan-Marron's children told teachers their father had killed their mother. They had woken up Roldan-Marron and asked him to take them to school Monday morning. He later told police he had “blacked out” due to alcohol and pills and didn't remember the incident but indicated that must have killed Gomez because the only other people in the apartment were the children.
Mendoza had met Gomez (and Roldan-Marron) when she started singing with the music group at their Kayros church on Truman Road. The two eventually developed feelings for each other, and even shared their first kiss a month before she was killed.
Mendoza said Gomez told him she was not happy in her marriage and wanted out – “She made that clear to me,” he said – and Roldan-Marron had acknowledged to him they were having issues.
“But I didn't want to destroy their marriage,” he said under examination from Jackson County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Hunt. “He thought I was trying to steal her.”
Under cross-examination from Roldan-Marron's attorney, public defender Laura O'Sullivan, Mendoza acknowledged he had left a previous church in Kansas because of an extra-marital affair but said he didn't want that to happen again and needed to work on his own marriage, which is why he stepped away from the music group for several weeks.
Some people at church were trying to help Gomez and Roldan-Marron with their marriage, Mendoza said, and he was called to meeting at church where a relative of Gomez's accused him of being involved with other women, and Roldan-Marron accused him of sweeping in and taking advantage of her being vulnerable.
Mendoza got up and left the meeting, and as he left Gomez was arriving at church to go to the meeting, he said.
When he messaged her later to ask if she was OK, she said yes. That was about 1:30 p.m., Jan. 29.
Earlier Monday, the jury of eight men and six women (including alternates) heard testimony from teachers and police officers. The trial resumes Wednesday morning.