New York

I Wish I Could Take Her Place: Man Who Bludgeoned New York Socialite With Fire Extinguisher Gets Up to Life in State Prison

His attorney said he had gone to the estate the day Lois Colley died to ask for money because he was broke after suffering a chainsaw injury on the property; things got out of hand, the lawyer said

What to Know

  • Ex-day laborer who worked for socialite found bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher was sentenced to 22 years to life in state prison
  • Esdras Marroquin Gomez, 34, asked for God's forgiveness at his sentencing; he also said he wished he could take the victim's place
  • Lois Colley, 83, the wife of a millionaire McDonald's franchisee with roughly 100 restaurants was found dead at her hilltop estate in 2015

The former day laborer who pleaded guilty in the case of an 83-year-old socialite found bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher at her Westchester estate in 2015 has been sentenced to 22 years to life in state prison.

Esdras Marroquin Gomez, also known as Victor, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in May in the death 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.

Her family was emotional in court Thursday as they spoke of a kind-hearted woman who was savagely beaten for no reason at all.

Speaking in Spanish after the sentence was handed down, the 34-year-old Gomez asked for God's forgiveness and said he wished he could take his actions back and die in Colley's place. 

The family lived in an area of extreme wealth where horse farms dot the landscape. There was no history of domestic issues on the property, police 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.

Following the May guilty plea, the Westchester County district attorney held a press conference alongside members of Colley's family, including her husband, sons and grandchildren, where he said he hoped the development would "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.

On Thursday, Gomez's attorney said her client was broke after a chainsaw injury on their property and had come to talk to Eugene Colley that day about compensation, along with airfare home to Guatemala, when the situation got out of control. Lois Colley ended up dead. 

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 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.

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