NEW ORLEANS -- The suspect in the Terrytown murder of a mother Monday was arrested in New Orleans in 2015 for a similar crime.
Irwin Gomez-Colon was charged with rape, kidnapping and domestic abuse battery involving strangulation. Those charges were refused by the District Attorney's office because of inconsistencies in victim's statements as well as a lack of corroboration with physical evidence.
In April 2015, Gomez-Colon was charged with first-degree rape, second-degree kidnapping and domestic abuse battery involving strangulation. According to police records, the victim considered Gomez-Colon a family friend and let him into her home. The two chatted for about 30 minutes before Gomez-Colon asked to use the restroom. Records said the victim allowed him to do so and when he returned, he had a knife in his hand from the victim's kitchen. Police records say Gomez took the victim into a rear bedroom and raped her.
After the sexual assault, police say Gomez-Colon took off. He was arrested later. In the most recent charges, Gomez-Colon is also accused of sexually assaulting his victim, as well as strangulation.
Before the violent charges, Gomez-Colon was detained in Texas for being in the country illegally. A representative with ICE said that case was administratively dismissed.
Gomez-Colon was a known illegal immigrant but the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office says they have no record of any detainer request from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The sheriff's office looked in the inmate record keeping system and in the inmate folder. ICE said they cannot dispute what the sheriff's office says and they won't contradict it either. Here's why: in 2015, the policy for ICE was for the agency to send a detainer request after a conviction, not after an arrest. Gomez-Colon was never convicted of those charges in 2015.
Now, the policy for ICE is that they can send a detainer request for an illegal immigrant after an arrest and that's what they did for Gomez-Colon this week. The 31-year-old was arrested in Jefferson Parish for the murder of Nancy Yahaira Gonzalez Rodriguez. Her body was found in a pool of blood with her 4-year-old son crying beside her.
Now, the question is could the allegations in 2015 have been a red flag? Immigration Attorney Kathleen Gasparian with Gasparian Immigration said that answer is up for debate.
"If a person is innocent until proven guilty then they need to be considered to be innocent," said Gasparian. "But, then when bad things happen again and we see it as a failure of the system, that can be really heartbreaking."
Gomez-Colon faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of Gonzalez-Rodriguez. He's accused of stabbing her more than 20 times. The victim was also sexually assaulted and strangled.
Gomez-Colon is a Honduran National illegally in the United States. ICE has issued a detainer request for Gomez-Colon. If he is released from the Jefferson Parish jail, immigration proceedings would start.
The Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office released this statement Thursday afternoon regarding Colon's 2015 arrest:
“The New Orleans Police Department performed an adequate investigation which included following up on several issues that arose during the charge conference process. The case was presented to the charge conference twice, however, due to inconsistencies in victim’s statements, as well as a lack of corroboration with physical evidence, the District Attorney’s office determined it could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The office refused the case. The New Orleans District Attorney’s office accepts 85-95% of the rapes presented by New Orleans Police Department. When the office refuses a rape case, there’s a good reason for it.”
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