|For Immediate Release
Case # 09WF1949
September 22, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN CONVICTED OF BEATING AND STRANGLING-MURDER OF PROSTITUTE IN HOTEL ROOM
SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today of murdering a prostitute by severely beating and strangling her to death in her hotel room. Cesar Gomez, 36, El Monte, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery. Gomez faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing hearing, Dec. 2, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On Aug. 19, 2009, 24-year-old Ashley Lilly checked into a hotel room at the Crown Plaza Anaheim Resort on Harbor Boulevard. The victim posted her profile on an escort website with information about the hotel where she was staying and that she would be there for three days. Men could contact the victim through the escort site to arrange to meet Lilly for sex, and she would provide them with her room number over the phone or the Internet. Gomez contacted Lilly through the escort website and set up a meeting.
Late on the night of Aug. 20, 2009, or early in the morning of Aug. 21, 2009, Gomez showed up at Lilly’s hotel room. He severely beat her face and body and strangled her to death. No sexual assault took place. After murdering the victim, the defendant ransacked the hotel room and stole the victim’s personal items. Gomez then fled the scene with the victim’s phone and laptop.
Later in the morning on Aug. 21, 2009, hotel staff found the murdered victim on the floor of her room and contacted the Garden Grove Police Department, who investigated this case with the assistance of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Gomez was linked to the crime through blood DNA collected from the crime scene, and the victim’s laptop was found in his home. He was subsequently arrested by Garden Grove Police.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Cameron Talley of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.