Sunday, August 12, 2007


Teen murder victim fought back

Court documents are shedding more light on the murder of a 15-year-old Texas girl in a Milwaukie apartment last month. They show that the victim, Dani Jen’e Countryman, struggled with her alleged attackers and that a bloody shoe worn by one of the suspects matched an imprint left on her chest.

Two cousins, Alejandro Emeterio "Alex" Rivera Gamboa, 24, and Gilberto Javier Arellano-Gamboa, 23, are charged with aggravated murder in Countryman’s death. Countryman was found strangled on July 28th at the Balboa Apartments.

According to probable cause documents obtained by Fox 12, Rivera Gamboa said he woke up that morning to find his cousin on top of Countryman. As Countryman struggled, Arellano-Gamboa asked his cousin for help, deputies said.

The documents say Rivera admitted to stepping his foot on Countryman's throat until she stopped moving, Fox 12 reported. As detectives investigated the killing, they found blood on a shoe that matched the size of shoe worn by Rivera Gamboa, authorities said. The pattern of the shoe also matched an imprint on Countryman's upper chest, according to detectives.

The fact that two people were arrested for the killing and that Dani fought back did not come as a surprise to her grandmother, Sandra Wright. “I kinda felt there were maybe two people involved because I don’t think one could have held her,” Wright told AM 860 KPAM in a telephone interview from Texas on Monday night. “She was a little dynamo.”

“We knew she was gonna solve her own case,” Dani’s sister Ashley Countryman said. “I’m glad she put up a fight.”

The two suspects were arraigned in Clackamas County on Tuesday. They are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 14th.

“I ordinarily…don’t believe in the death penalty, but I think in this case I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Wright said. “I’d like to see them suffer. I’d like to see someone strangle them like they did my granddaughter.”

Authorities said Monday it was a bit of a surprise to make these arrests so soon after the murder. They called the investigation “complex” and said it involved a large number of difficult interviews and the tedious collection of critical forensic evidence.

Authorities have said that the two sisters had gone to the Balboa Apartments for a party on the night of July 27th. They separated at some point and spent the night in different apartments at the complex, located at 2717 S.E. Courtney Rd. Ashley Countryman found the body while looking for her sister.

Ashley Countryman lives in Oregon City and her sister was visiting from Texas.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a hold on the two cousins, officials said Tuesday. Once they are tried in the criminal system, they will be taken into ICE custody and immigration proceedings will begin against them.

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