What to Know
- Ex-day laborer who worked for socialite found bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher at her Westchester estate accepted plea deal
- Esdras Marroquin Gomez, 34, accepted a plea deal that will send him to prison for 20 to 22 years before he can go before a parole board
- Lois Colley, 83, the wife of a millionaire McDonald's franchisee with roughly 100 restaurants was found dead in her hilltop estate in 2015
A former day laborer who worked for an 83-year-old wealthy socialite found bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher at her Westchester estate in 2015 has plead guilty.
Esdras Marroquin Gomez, also known as Victor, was previously indicted on a charge of second-degree murder by a grand jury in with the killing of Lois Colley, the wife of a millionaire McDonald's franchisee with roughly 100 of the fast food restaurants. Colley was found in the laundry room at the couple's hilltop estate in North Salem in November 2015.
The family lived in an area of extreme wealth where horse farms dot the landscape. There was no history domestic issues on the property, police said.
On Monday, Gomez, 34, accepted a plea deal for murder in the second degree that will send him to prison for at least 20 years to 22 years before he is eligible for parole, according to Westchester District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr.
"First of all, he plead as charged, so when you plead as charged there really is no negotiation," Scarpino said during a Monday press conference, adding that because Gomez plead as charged the district attorney's office is out of the equation and the sentencing is solely up to the trial judge.
"It is my understanding that this trial judge has made the commitment that's a life sentence," Scarpino said, adding that that the 20 to 22 years range refers to when Gomez will be able to appear in front of a parole board.
"It is potentially a life sentence," Scarpino said.
Following Monday's development, the Westchester District Attorney's Office held a press conference alongside members of Colley's family, including her husband, sons and grandchildren.
Scarpino said he hopes the development will "bring some measure of closure" to Colley's family and their "nightmare of a journey."
Eugene Colley, Lois' husband for 65 years, thanked the authorities who worked the case.
"We the family had a tough time, but this will help," he said as he teared up.
New York State Police Major Richard L. Mazzone, who served as troop commander said the agency continues to offer its condolences to the Colley family.
"Although the defendant's plea today will never bring Lois Colley back to her family, we hope they can find some solace in knowing that the perpetrator did not get away with murder," Mazzone said.
Gomez had worked as a day laborer about five times on the farm, though he was not employed by the family at the time of Colley's killing.
Investigators previously said they believe he had gotten into some sort of dispute with someone in the Colley family and went to the estate on that November day looking to talk to someone. He ran into Colley and killed her, authorities said. However, during Monday's press conference, the district attorney's office said they believe Gomez was "upset or concerned" over an injury he possibly sustained while there and "probably wanted money."
A caretaker at the 300-acre estate found Colley's body in the main house's laundry room. A small fire extinguisher was missing from the home and was subsequently found in a pond; forensics determined Colley's blood was on the extinguisher, according to the district attorney.
The wealthy socialite had last been heard from about two hours before she was found, and there was no sign of forced entry, according to police. No valuables were taken.
Gomez had been identified as a possible suspect early in the investigation, though not publicly, officials said. He fled to his native Guatemala less than a week after the slaying and was there for a short time, then went to Cancún, Mexico. Mexican authorities tracked him down there and deported him back to his native country. But because there were no direct flights between Cancún and a Guatemalan airport, officials said FBI agents were able to detain Gomez once he landed in Miami on a connecting flight.