Prosecutors say a former U.S. Air Force mechanic showed no remorse for the death of a young woman, saying his hatred towards her faith was a motivator in the homicide.
Sasha Krause, a 27-year-old Mennonite woman, went missing from northwestern New Mexico exactly two years ago Tuesday. She was found dead in a forest clearing, covered in pine needles, five weeks later by a camper near Sunset Crater National Monument in Flagstaff, Arizona. Krause was found facedown, bound, and shot in the head.
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Authorities say she was kidnapped running an errand while preparing for her Farmington Mennonite Church Sunday school lesson.
A 22-year-old man, Mark Gooch, was convicted by a jury in October for her killing and kidnapping. He is a former Mennonite, but was not connected to Krause.
"We are delighted to hear that Sasha got some justice today. We will be working with the District Attorney’s office to move forward with the charge of kidnapping in the upcoming weeks," San Juan County's Sheriff Shane Ferrari said in a statement at the time.
The Associated Press says on Thursday, Gooch has been sentenced to life in prison. AP says the man did not express any emotion at the sentencing, noting that prosecutors argued Gooch was "driven by a disdain for the Mennonite faith." Gooch grew up as a Mennonite in Wisconsin.
Krause wrote poetry and music, working at Lamp & Light Publishers.