Prosecutor: West Seattle slaying was sexually motivated

SEATTLE -- A 20-year-old man accused of strangling his ex-girlfriend's mother in her West Seattle home has been charged with first-degree murder.

Describing the Dec. 14 attack, King County prosecutors contend Jose Gonzalez-Leos forced his way into the home of 46-year-old Nga Nguyen, his ex-girlfriend's mother. Once inside, Gonzalez, a White Center resident, is alleged to have beaten and strangled the woman before fleeing.

At 12:30 p.m. the day of the killing, Seattle police officers were called to Nguyen's home in the 5900 block of High Point Drive Southwest after the woman's daughter found her dead. Nguyen had been stuffed in the bedroom closet.

Nguyen's daughter told police she broke up with Gonzalez months before. She said he'd previously showed up at her mother's home uninvited.

Investigators came to believe an intruder forced his way into the home through a second-story window. A shoe print was discovered on a nearby roof, and several fingerprints were recovered from the window; police contend those fingerprints were left by Gonzalez.

According to charging papers, Gonzalez also left a palm print on the box of a Nerf toy gun - a Christmas present discarded outside the home after Nguyen was killed.

Having initially denied any wrongdoing, Gonzalez was questioned again on Saturday. Writing the court, a Seattle detective said Gonzalez admitted to killing Nguyen after breaking into her home.

"Gonzalez stated that the victim confronted him inside the apartment," a Seattle detective said in charging papers. "Gonzalez told detectives that he struck her, strangled her, and hid her in the bedroom closet."

Forensic tests uncovered evidence that Gonzalez may have sexually assaulted Nguyen during the attack, the detective continued. Gonzalez's DNA was found on her body.

Charged with first-degree murder, Gonzalez faces 20 to 26 years in prison if convicted as charged. He remains jailed on $2 million bail.