Archive for Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Illinois man sentenced to 30 months in prison in case where children were bound and blindfolded in parking lot

June 19, 2013


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Adolfo Gomez, pictured Feb. 8 in Douglas County District Court, was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in prison.

Adolfo Gomez, pictured Feb. 8 in Douglas County District Court, was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in prison.

A 53-year-old Northlake, Ill., man was sentenced today to 30 months in prison after telling the court he'd lacked sleep and feared his children were possessed by demons when he and his wife left them outside the family vehicle in a Lawrence parking lot with their hands and feet bound last summer.

Adolfo Gomez was sentenced in Douglas County District Court after pleading no contest in December to two felony counts of child abuse and three misdemeanor counts of child endangerment. Adolfo and his then-wife, Deborah Gomez, 44, were arrested June 13, 2012, after passersby saw the children tied up and called police. Adolfo and Deborah have since divorced.

On Wednesday Adolfo Gomez said he now understands that his behavior was irrational.

"That is something I've never done before. That is something that's not even logical," he said. Gomez said he had one message for his ex-wife and his children. "Basically, that I'm sorry I screwed everything up," he said. "I wasn't trying to hurt anybody."

Two children, ages 5 and 7, were found bound and blindfolded outside the family’s Chevrolet Suburban while three other older children, 12, 13 and 15, were inside the vehicle, unbound. According to court testimony by Adolfo Gomez and others, the family was in Lawrence on its way from Illinois to Arizona. According to testimony in court Wednesday, Adolfo and Deborah Gomez had been convicted of child endangerment in Illinois four years earlier, after neighbors reported the couple had left two children home alone.

Gomez was uncooperative during the arrest in Lawrence, and police used a Taser to subdue him. At previous hearings, Gomez testified that he and his children were fearful of demonic possession and were leaving their home in Illinois because they believed it was haunted. In June, Douglas County District Judge Paula Martin declared Gomez competent to stand trial.

In January, Deborah Gomez was sentenced to one year of probation after pleading no contest to three counts of child endangerment. Her court-appointed attorney, Angela Keck, had said Deborah was an unwilling participant and was made by Adolfo to bind the hands of one of her children. Douglas County prosecutors said the children have been placed in protective custody, but Deborah's plea agreement opened the door to her regaining custody of them in the future.

Adolfo Gomez has been in Douglas County Jail since he and his wife were arrested. Wednesday, at sentencing, he described some of the events leading up to his arrest. He said his judgment had been impaired by a lack of sleep. He also described how he and his family had become fearful of supernatural activity at their Illinois home, which they left with the intention of going to Arizona. His court-appointed attorney, James Rumsey, offered evidence that Gomez had a history of mental health problems.

Gomez said Wednesday that other family members first reported seeing phantom shadows and spirits at their home in Illinois and that he did not initially believe them. "I mean, it just sounds kind of crazy," he said.

Soon, Gomez said, he also began to hear disembodied voices around the house. Over time, he said, "They were getting bolder. And then I started to get concerned." He sought the advice of a church pastor, but the problem persisted. Gomez said he led his family to sell many of their belongings to raise money for a move to Arizona. They left in June, driving a Chevrolet Suburban.

But Gomez said their problems followed them as far as Kansas. After nine days without sleep, he began to believe that some of his children had been possessed by demons.

Douglas County prosecutors said they made the plea agreement, which recommended the 30-month sentence instead of more time in prison, partly to prevent Gomez's children from having to testify in a trial.


Hooligan_016 5 years ago

Instead of just throwing him in prison for 2 1/2 years, I really hope he can receive the treatment he needs for his mental rehabilitation.

Hooligan_016 5 years ago

Would you rather we just take them out back for the firing line? Welcome to a civil society.

Mike Hatch 5 years ago

He should have just checked into a Holiday Inn and rolled the TV out on to the balcony.

xbigdogz 5 years ago

Pretty tough sentence considering no serious harm to the children and an obviously disturbed defendant, IMHO.

gatekeeper 5 years ago

I don't think it was harsh enough. This guy bound some of his kids with duct tape and covered their eyes with duct tape (just think how that feels), then had his wife go into Walmart to buy tarps, more duct tape and a baseball bat. If the observant lady in the parking lot hadn't seen them, most likely the kids would be dead and left in the desert. What's scary is that the mom might get them back.

I know someonethat they talked to about their vehicle (they'd been in town for more than the day with car issues) and he said they were scary people. After hearing what happened at Walmart, he felt so bad he didn't call authorities, but didn't have any good reason to, except for them being scary, freaky people. He just knew something wasn't right with them.

The dad has testified that binding his children was a religious belief. He'd been listening to a preacher that said the end of days was near, and that's why they left home and were heading to the desert. What do you think they were going to do in the desert with their kids, duct tape, tarps and a bat? The mom could have asked for help while in Walmart, but she was a willing participant.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 5 years ago

gatekeeper, I realize you're getting your information from the HuffPo article but more accurate information is to be found in the above article.

I wonder if the father has gotten any mental health help while waiting for sentencing?

gatekeeper 5 years ago

How many other sources with the same information would you like? The Huff article was just one of the best out there. Keep in mind that the parents "They believed demons had “overtaken” the young children’s bodies and that the death of the demons would mean the death of the children, according to Fowler’s testimony." They were getting ready to exorcise these demons by killing their kids!!!!

LJW journalism is a joke and if you haven't figured that out yet, so sorry. Even Huff Post is much better than our little paper that never listed all the details of the case.

Here, happy with these? The same info in the Huff Post articles are also on these.

TwerkQueen 5 years ago

Two and a half years seems long enough if they binded and blindfolded them with duct tape!

Bursting 5 years ago

In my gut i feel that they were going to kill these children. The tarp and baseball bat story is accurate from my memory of the time.

Loretta James 5 years ago

i dont think 2 and 1/2 years is long enough and i pray they dont get them back.

Matthew Herbert 5 years ago

"He sought the advice of a church pastor, but the problem persisted". Imagine that.

Eugehne Normandin 5 years ago

Poor guy was having a bad day so he bound his children and sent his wife into walmart to buy a baseball bat. I guess he wanted to play some baseball with his kids after he freed them from their duct tape,sorry twerkqueen two and half years is not enough

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