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U.S. Airman Facing Life In Prison After Conviction In 2020 Murder Of Mennonite Woman

“Through some hard work, the community will be a safer place tonight," Coconino County Attorney William Ring said after U.S. Airman Mark Gooch was convicted of Sasha Krause’s murder on Oct. 13. 

By Dorian Geiger
Sasha Krause Mark Gooch Pd Ap

The U.S. Airman accused of fatally shooting a Mennonite woman found near a volcanic crater in the Arizona desert last year was found guilty by a jury this week.

Mark Gooch, 22, was convicted on Wednesday in the murder of Sasha Krause. After listening to 10 days of testimony, jurors deliberated for less than a day, according to the Arizona Republic, before returning a guilty verdict. 

While the verdict was read, Gooch reportedly didn’t display any signs of emotion.

“Through some hard work, the community will be a safer place tonight," Coconino County Attorney William Ring said in a statement following the ruling.

On Feb. 24, 2020, Krause’s remains were found by a national park near Flagstaff, Arizona. She’d been shot in the head with a .22 caliber firearm. Her hands had been bound with duct tape. The 27-year-old woman had been living in Farmington, New Mexico at the time of her disappearance.

Prosecutors said it didn’t appear that Gooch and Krause previously knew each other. 

During the trial, ballistics experts clashed on whether or not the bullet that penetrated Krause’s skull was shot from a .22-caliber rifle owned by Gooch. State crime lab officials had previously matched the bullet to Gooch’s gun.

The 22-year-old airman didn’t testify during the court proceedings; he now faces life in prison.

“We desire his complete repentance, that he would turn from darkness to light,” Paul Kaufman, Krause’s employer at a Christian publishing ministry, said this week.

Gooch’s sentencing is now scheduled for Nov. 24 in Coconino County.

Krause was deeply spiritual and loved reading and writing, according to her family. She taught at Grandview Gospel Fellowship in Grandview, Texas prior to relocating to New Mexico, the Arizona Republic reported.

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