A second person has been charged and is in custody in connection to the murder of a Belen Marine veteran.
Jeannine Willard, 44, of Adelino, is charged with four counts of conspiracy in the murder of Matthew Gurule, 32.
She is charged with conspiracy to commit murder, armed robbery, arson and tampering with evidence for helping Francisco Gomez, 37, of Los Lunas, who is charged with Gurule’s murder.
Gomez and Willard were arrested and booked into the Valencia County Detention Center on Aug. 9 for using Gurule’s credit card at several stores in Belen on July 27, the day Gurule was killed.
Willard was released on her own recognizance on Saturday, Aug. 17, and ordered to report to pretrial services by the following Monday. Gomez is still in custody at VCDC on a no-bond hold.
According to the criminal complaints against Willard and Gomez, Willard, told Valencia County Sheriff’s Office Lt. James Harris she called Gomez in the early morning hours of Saturday, July 27, asking him to pick her up at the Love’s Travel Center in Belen.
Gomez picked her up on a motorcycle and the couple rode west on Camino del Llano, near where Gurule lived on Paseo Arbolado with his cousin.
As they were riding, Gomez noticed a car parked on a small dirt pull-out near the water tank at the top of the mesa, which was Gurule in his Honda Accord.
“According to Jeannie, Francisco told her to get off his motorcycle a ways off from where Matthew was parked in his car and stated to her that he intended to rob the person in the parked vehicle …” the complaint reads.
Willard said she began walking back toward the two men and saw them arguing and heard Gomez telling Gurule he was being robbed, so “he better start running.”
“When he did not, Francisco shot Matthew multiple times, killing him,” the complaint reads.
Willard estimated Gomez shot Gurule six times with a large revolver handgun.
The preliminary OMI findings lists Gurule’s cause of death as multiple gun shot wounds to the head.
Gomez put Gurule’s body in the trunk of the car and the couple drove to a drainage ditch south of Rio Communities, near the Rio Grande Stables, where they discarded Gurule’s body in the ditch.
They cleaned the interior of the car, taking some of Gurule’s possessions, then took it to an area off Manzano Expressway, where they set the car on fire.
Willard said Gomez threatened to kill her if she said anything. When the couple returned to their home on Vallejos Road in Adelino, they burned their clothes.
Harris and Valencia County Sheriff Denise Vigil took Willard to the ditch in which Gomez had left Gurule’s body, where Harris found him floating in the water.
According to the criminal complaint, Gurule and Gomez had no known ties, other than meeting on the night Gurule was killed.
During the search of Willard and Gomez’s home, several .22 caliber rounds were found, as well as a .22 caliber revolver handgun, burnt .38 special caliber spent casings and two large burn sites that contained burnt clothing.
When the couple was arrested earlier this month, more than two dozen .22 caliber rounds as well as a .22 caliber handgun were found in the Chevrolet Colorado pickup Gomez was driving.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.