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SAN DIEGO — An 85-year-old man who gunned down his estranged wife in broad daylight in the Gaslamp District was sentenced Friday to 50 years to life in state prison.

Joseph Gotell was convicted last month of first-degree murder and gun charges in the May 14, 2011, death of his 57-year-old spouse Deborah.

Authorities said Gotell, then 83, confronted his wife near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway around 2:15 p.m. while she was running errands. He pulled out a .32-caliber handgun and shot her twice in the head and once in the right arm. She was declared brain-dead the next morning.

Judge Peter Deddeh said he was required by law to hand down the 50-year- to-life sentence, but would have sentenced Gotell to the term even if he had discretion to do so.

“This was a shocking, awful and premeditated murder,” Deddeh said.

The judge said the victim grew tired of the defendant’s desire to control her and tried to leave him, but he continued to stalk her. The couple had been married about five years.

Deddeh said the shooting also traumatized people who witnessed it on a Saturday afternoon.

Fatimah Collins, the victim’s oldest of four daughters, said in a letter that because of her mother’s murder, she can’t continue her work as a hospice nurse.

The victim’s ex-husband, Levandis Carter, said Gotell knew what he was doing when he pulled the trigger.

“Age had nothing to do with this, but hatred did,” Carter said.

Gotell’s attorney, Kathleen Lee, said her client had two strokes before the fatal shooting and suffers from dementia.

A witness testified at Gotell’s preliminary hearing in January that he was standing outside his workplace at the Se Hotel when he heard a loud “pop or bang,” then up to four more.

Gregory Bowler said he saw the defendant pointing a gun at a woman and firing. After the shooting, “he casually flipped his gun away,” Bowler said.

The witness said he ran to the victim, who still had smoke coming from a head wound. Bowler said he heard the defendant mutter, “That (expletive) bitch, I’ve been dealing with this for years.”

Carolyn Manigault testified that she saw Gotell shove his wife into a store window before shooting her.

Authorities said Gotell was quickly detained by two hotel security guards, who turned him over to a passing San Diego police officer.

The victim’s daughters said their mother had broken away several times from the defendant, but he kept showing up in places where he knew she would be.

JosephGotell

Joseph Gotell is accused of gunning down his estranged wife in broad daylight in the Gaslamp District on May 14, 2011.

SAN DIEGO — An 85-year-old man who gunned down his estranged wife in broad daylight in the Gaslamp District about two years ago was convicted Friday of first-degree murder.

Joseph Gotell faces 50 years to life in prison when he is sentenced July 5 for the death of his 57-year-old spouse.

Authorities said Gotell confronted his wife, Deborah, about 2:15 p.m. on May 14, 2011, near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, while she was running errands. He pulled out a .32-caliber handgun and shot her twice in the head and once in the right arm. She was declared brain-dead the next morning.

A witness testified at a preliminary hearing in January that he was standing outside his workplace at the Se Hotel when he heard a loud “pop or bang,” then up to four more.

Gregory Bowler said he saw the defendant pointing a gun at a woman and firing. After the shooting, “he (Gotell) casually flipped his gun away,” Bowler said.

The witness said he ran to the victim, who still had smoke coming from a head wound. Bowler said he heard the defendant mutter, “That (expletive) bitch, I’ve been dealing with this for years.”

Carolyn Manigault testified that she saw Gotell shove his wife into a store window before shooting her.

Authorities said Gotell was quickly detained by two hotel security guards, who turned him over to a passing San Diego police officer.

The victim’s three adult daughters said their mother had broken away several times from the defendant, but he kept showing up in places where he knew she would be.

Gotell’s attorney, Kathleen Lee, told jurors her client had two strokes before the fatal shooting and suffers from dementia.

joseph Deborah gotell

Joseph and Deborah Gotell

SAN DIEGO — An 85-year-old man accused of gunning down his estranged wife in broad daylight in the Gaslamp District nearly two years ago must stand trial on murder and gun charges, a judge ruled today.

Joseph Gotell faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted in the death of 57-year-old Deborah Gotell, to whom he had been married for at least five years.

Authorities allege that Gotell confronted his wife about 2:15 p.m. on May 14, 2011, near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, while she was running errands. He allegedly pulled out a .32-caliber handgun and shot her twice in the head and once in the right arm. She was declared brain-dead the next morning.

Witness Gregory Bowler testified that he was standing outside his workplace at the Se Hotel when he heard a loud “pop or bang,” then up to four more.

Bowler said he saw the defendant pointing a gun at a woman and firing. After the shooting, “he (Gotell) casually flipped his gun away,” Bowler said.

The witness said he ran to the victim, who still had smoke coming from a head wound. Bowler said he heard the defendant mutter, “That (expletive) bitch, I’ve been dealing with this for years.”

Carolyn Manigault testified that she saw Gotell shove his wife into a store window before shooting her.

Authorities said Gotell was quickly detained by two hotel security guards, who turned him over to a passing San Diego police officer.

The victim’s three adult daughters have said their mother had broken away several times from the defendant, but he kept showing up in places where he knew she would be.

Criminal proceedings against Gotell were suspended last year when defense attorney Kathleen Lee requested a mental competency evaluation.

Doctors deemed the defendant competent, but a second examination determined that Gotell was incompetent to stand trial. A third evaluation was ordered and Judge Peter Deddeh found that Gotell was competent to face the murder charges.

Deddeh ruled today that enough evidence was presented at Gotell’s preliminary hearing to order him to stand trial March 15. A readiness conference was set for Feb. 22.

Joseph Gotell is accused of gunning down his estranged wife in broad daylight in the Gaslamp District on May 14, 2011.

SAN DIEGO — An 84-year-old man accused of gunning down his estranged wife in broad daylight in the Gaslamp District is mentally competent to stand trial on murder charges, a judge ruled today.

Criminal proceedings were reinstated for Joseph Gotell, who’s accused of killing 57-year-old Deborah Gotell on May 14, 2011.

After a two-day mental competency trial, Judge Peter Deddeh ruled that the defendant understood the charges against him and could assist his attorney at trial.

Dr. Richard Kennerly, a a neuropsychologist, testified Monday that Gotell suffers from dementia and paranoid delusions and is not mentally competent to stand trial.

But forensic psychologist Dr. Valerie Rice testified that Gotell had an understanding of his case and could assist his attorney at trial.

Rice testified that Gotell was emotional when talking about the victim — his wife of five years — but did not suffer from a severe mental disorder.

During an interview, Gotell was mostly “grounded in reality,” Rice testified.

Authorities allege that Gotell confronted his wife about 2:15 p.m. on May 14, 2011, near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, while she was running errands. He allegedly pulled out a .32-caliber handgun and shot her twice in the head and once in the right arm. She was declared brain-dead the next morning.

After the shooting, Gotell threw his gun about 10 feet away and was quickly detained by two security guards, who turned him over to a passing San Diego police officer, according to authorities, who have yet to offer a motive for the slaying.

The victim’s three adult daughters have said their mother had broken away several times from the defendant but that he kept showing up in places where he knew she would be.

Criminal proceedings were suspended last year when defense attorney Kathleen Lee requested a mental competency evaluation.

Doctors deemed the defendant competent last November, but a second examination determined that Gotell was incompetent to stand trial. A third evaluation was ordered and the matter was set for a mental competency trial.

Gotell faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 24.

By Kelly Wheeler, City News Service

Joseph Gotell is charged with murdering his 57-year-old wife Deborah Gotell in May 2011.

SAN DIEGO — Two doctors gave differing opinions Monday on whether an 84-year-old man accused of gunning down his estranged wife in broad daylight in the Gaslamp District is mentally competent to stand trial.

Joseph Gotell is charged with murder in the May 14, 2011, shooting death of 57-year-old Deborah Gotell.

Criminal proceedings against the defendant were suspended last year when defense attorney Kathleen Lee requested a mental competency evaluation to determine if her client understood the charges against him and could assist in his own defense.

Doctors deemed the defendant competent last November, but a second examination determined that Gotell was incompetent to stand trial. A third evaluation was ordered and the matter was set for a mental competency trial, in which a judge will decide if Gotell is competent to face criminal charges.

Dr. Richard Kennerly, a neuropsychologist, testified today that Gotell suffers from dementia and paranoid delusions and is not mentally competent to stand trial.

But forensic psychologist Dr. Valerie Rice testified that Gotell had an understanding of his case and could assist his attorney at trial.

Rice testified that Gotell was emotional when talking about the victim — his wife of five years — but did not suffer from a severe mental disorder.

Joseph and Deborah Gotell

During an interview, Gotell was mostly “grounded in reality,” Rice testified.

Authorities allege that Gotell confronted his wife about 2:15 p.m. on May 14, 2011, near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, while she was running errands. He allegedly pulled out a .32-caliber handgun and shot her twice in the head and once in the right arm. She was declared brain-dead the next morning.

After the shooting, Gotell threw his gun about 10 feet away and was quickly detained by two security guards, who turned him over to a passing San Diego police officer, according to authorities, who have yet to offer a motive for the slaying.

The victim’s three adult daughters have said their mother had broken away several times from the defendant but that he kept showing up in places where he knew she would be.

If he is found mentally competent to stand trial and is subsequently convicted, Gotell would face 50 years to life in prison.

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