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Nevada Man Who Fatally Strangled, Injected Adult Entertainer With Pool Cleaner Sentenced
“Learning how she died shattered my heart forever,” Esmerelda Gonzalez’s brother, Juan Gonzalez-Medera, said in court.
A Nevada man has been sentenced for killing a 24-year-old model, whose body was found encased in concrete in the desert more than three years ago.
Christopher Prestipino, 49, was dealt a 10 to 25 year sentence on Tuesday for the 2019 murder Esmerelda Gonzalez, who was strangled and injected with pool cleaner, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Prestipino pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping charges related to Gonzalez’s death in March, the newspaper reported.
Prestipino’s former roommate, Casandra Garrett, was also charged in the murder of Gonzalez, who worked in the adult entertainment industry. Garrett has also pleaded guilty.
On Oct. 8, 2019, Gonzalez’s body was found set in a concrete structure in a remote desert area near Las Vegas. She’d been reported missing months earlier. Gonzalez was last seen alive in late May in the vicinity of a car dealership and later a residential neighborhood. She was “dressed only in lingerie and high heels," Las Vegas television station KTNV reported at the time.
In July 2019, Las Vegas police received an anonymous tip that Prestipino and Garrett had “killed an unknown woman,” according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
Prestipino would ultimately admit he and Garrett hired Gonzalez, a sex worker, who lived nearby and “ended up getting her high on methamphetamine.”
“Christopher was not aware of the female’s mental problems, and she started acting bizarre and speaking in the devil’s tongue,” court records alleged. “She threatened to call the cops on Christopher for the drugs he had given her.”
Gonzalez, who reportedly began behaving erratically after doing the drugs, was later restrained by the pair. She later died “after being injected with pool cleaner by the suspects,” investigators said.
Surveillance footage also captured Prestipino buying concrete mix at a Home Depot within the timeframe Gonzalez had gone missing, according to KTNV.
Had the case gone to trial and Prestipino was convicted, he could have faced life imprisonment. Prestipino entered an Alford plea, meaning he acknowledged prosecutors had sufficient evidence to convict him, but not that he directly admitted to carrying out Gonzalez’s murder.
He briefly addressed the court on Tuesday, pinning the blame on his former roommate Garrett.
“My involvement was after the fact,” Prestipino said at his sentencing. “I don’t believe this death was intentional, but like the medical examiner, I still don’t know the exact cause of death. I do regret ever meeting the co-defendant.”
Prestipino’s attorney declined to comment on the sentence as he left court this week.
“[The] facts speak for themselves,” defense lawyer Craig Mueller told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Gonzalez’s family also addressed the court this week prior to Prestipino’s sentencing.
“Learning that my sister was deceased deeply bruised my heart but learning how she died shattered my heart forever,” her brother, Juan Gonzalez-Medera, told the court on Tuesday, KLAS-TV reported. “I now live in a world where I only get to see my sister alive when I dream at night and relive the nightmare of her death when I wake up in the morning.”
He described his sister as “the light that shines within me.”
Garrett is expected to be sentenced in May.
Lisa Mort, Prestipino’s ex-girlfriend, previously pleaded guilty to being an accessory in Gonzalez’s murder. She was handed a sentence of 24 to 60 months in prison, according to Law&Crime. Mort was released from prison in February, according to jail records.