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Defendant in Marilyn Pharis murder trial changes plea to guilty

Posted at 6:42 PM, May 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-05 13:19:36-04

Jose Villagomez, one of two defendants in the Marilyn Pharis murder trial, entered into a plea deal Wednesday.

Villagomez pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for the 64-year-old’s death. As a result, the district attorney dropped three special circumstance allegations.

The jury in Villagomez’s case was released. However, the jury trial for co-defendant Victor Martinez continues.

The two were accused of breaking into Pharis’ Santa Maria home in 2015, raping her and beating her with a hammer. She died in the hospital days later.


Jose Villagomez appears in court during opening statements in his trial on May 21, 2018. (KSBY photo)

Villagomez is expected to be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison when he returns to court on July 19. With time served, Villagomez’s attorney says he will serve about 22 years before being eligible for parole.

Previous coverage:
Opening statements begin in trial of men charged with rape, murder of Santa Maria woman
Day 2 of opening statements in Marilyn Pharis murder trial
Nurse, neighbor testify in Marilyn Pharis murder trial