#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean
I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts. Let me know if you’ve seen the episode and, if so, what you thought about it.
Today’s post is from Diabolical, Season 1, Episode 7: Family or Foe:
Diabolical, Season 1, Episode 7
In 1992, when a young couple take their six-month-old baby boy to Creek Park in La Mirada, California, tragedy strikes. The seventeen-year-old mother, Vicki Gonhim, is shot to death as she sits in the passenger seat of the car, her baby strapped in his car seat in the back, her husband heading around to climb into the driver’s seat.
The husband, Morrad Ghonim, who was nineteen at the time, claimed they encountered a group of gang members, who began saying inappropriate things to his wife. She mouthed back at them, then the couple headed back to the car. Just as she got inside, and he was going around to the driver’s side, shots rang out, and he realized his wife had been hit. The husband sped off with her bleeding in the front seat. He was stopped by police and stated he was rushing his wife to the hospital. By this time, she was dead. Authorities brought him in for questioning. Although, he claimed to be taking her to the hospital, there was a hospital seven miles from the park where she was shot, and the husband had driven farther away from that location.
Police were suspicious, but there was no evidence to charge him. The case eventually went cold.
Fourteen years, later, after receiving a grant for DNA testing, the case is re-opened. Clothing found at the crime scene has been in evidence all these years. The clothing contains DNA, which is tested. The DNA is a match to a man named Leon Martinez, who is currently incarcerated. An additional DNA sample is taken from Martinez for confirmation, and it’s a hit.
As part of the investigation, police take the husband, Morrad, back out to the crime scene and ask him again what happened. The interaction is videotaped and it is obvious the guy is nervous, confused, and lying. He stutters and stumbles over his words and can’t form a complete sentence. When he was first interviewed, he stated they’d left the windows up when they exited the car. When they returned and were rushing to get back in, he claims he was going around the car to the driver’s side and was not yet in and hadn’t yet started the car when the shots were fired. However, the windows were down when she was shot, and they were automatic windows, so since he hadn’t yet had the key in the ignition, he could not have yet rolled down the windows. Very suspicious. (I love how police keep having suspects tell their version of what happened. If they are lying, they will almost always trip themselves up)
Martinez, the shooter, finally decides to tell the policed what happened. He says Morrad had bought coke from him, then a few days later, contacted him about killing his wife and offered him five-hundred dollars. (he ends up making other statements about different amounts he was paid and when questioned about the inconsistencies says he doesn’t remember all the details. Since he was doing so many drugs, that’s not surprising). Leon said Ghonim wanted him to make it look like a botched robbery. He shot her through the window, and she pleaded with him not to hurt her baby. Martinez shot her again and again, eventually shooting her in the eyes. As her body slumped over, Ghonim handed him an envelope of cash, reaching over his wife’s body.
A few years after the murder, Morrad married again. His second wife later told police that she learned he had cheated on her, so she told him she planned to return to Texas. He said, “It’s fine if you move, but if you ever think of getting a divorce, I’ll hurt you … It cost me $500 then, it won’t cost me much now,” and, “If you divorce me, I will throw some acid on you that makes sure you never get married in your life again.”
By the time of his eventual arrest, he had relocated to Antigua and married his third wife, a beauty queen.
Police decide there is enough evidence to arrest him, and he is charged with his wife’s murder. In December, 2016, twenty-four years after his wife’s murder (which is more years than she was even alive), he is convicted and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. The shooter, Martinez, is given 28 years to life in exchange for his testimony against Ghonim.
Vicky’s family is close to Vicky and Morrad’s son, who is now twenty-six, and does not believe his father killed his mother. Can you imagine what it must be like, for all of them? They love their nephew but he loves and believes in the man who murdered their precious sister. And the nephew loves the family who raised him, yet they believe the father that he loves and believes in, is guilty of murder. What a difficult situation, I feel for the entire family.