Airman on trial in death of Mennonite woman - Albuquerque Journal

Airman on trial in death of Mennonite woman

FLAGSTAFF – Jury selection began Tuesday in a case against a U.S. Air Force airman accused of kidnapping a Mennonite woman, fatally shooting her and leaving her body in a forest clearing in northern Arizona.

Mark Gooch

Prosecutors have largely circumstantial evidence against Mark Gooch, 22, who was stationed at Luke Air Force Base in metropolitan Phoenix. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Sasha Krause, 27, and other charges.

Krause disappeared from a Mennonite community in Farmington, where she worked in the publishing ministry and occasionally taught Sunday school. Her body was found in late February 2020 outside Flagstaff, her wrists bound with duct tape.

Sheriff’s officials who searched for Krause and those who investigated her death, along with cellphone data and ballistics experts, and people from Krause’s community are expected to testify in the three-week trial in Coconino County Superior Court.

Krause and Gooch both grew up around the Mennonite faith but did not know each other, prosecutors said. They tied Gooch to her disappearance and death using cellphone records, Gooch’s financial statements and receipts, and surveillance video from the Air Force base, they said. A state crime lab report showed that a bullet taken from Krause’s skull was fired from a .22-caliber rifle Gooch owned.

Gooch’s cellphone was the only one communicating with the same cell towers as Krause’s phone before hers dropped off west of Farmington, authorities said. Prosecutors aren’t sure why he targeted Krause but argue that he disliked Mennonites.

Gooch’s attorney, Bruce Griffen, unsuccessfully sought to keep an expert for the prosecution from testifying about the cellphone data that he referred to as “weak science.” He also sought to limit mentions of text messages conversations that Gooch had with his brothers that referred to Mennonites, saying the messages are not evidence of homicidal ill will.

Gooch was raised in a Mennonite community in Wisconsin but never officially became a member, he told investigators. He said he joined the military to escape what he saw as a difficult, sheltered and restricted life, according to sheriff’s records.

He was stationed at Luke Air Force Base in October 2019 and worked in equipment maintenance.

Sasha Krause

Krause was part of a group of conservative Mennonites in which women wear head coverings and long dresses or skirts. She moved to Farmington from Texas, where she taught school.

On the anniversary of her disappearance, the Mennonite community sent remembrances to Krause’s parents. Krause’s students said she was a good teacher who read to them and played games with them. Krause preached hard work, even if it went unrecognized, others said.

She spoke Spanish and French, often immersed herself in books and often quoted Scripture. The community remembered her deep, dancing brown eyes and her quiet mannerisms, saying her time in Farmington was short but her impact long-lasting.

Paul Kaufman, general manager of Lamp and Light Publishers, where Krause worked, said emotions that slowly were healing have bubbled up with the start of the trial. He said the community wants to feel safe and wants whoever was responsible for killing Krause to repent.

“We did not see who showed up at the church that night and kidnapped Sasha,” he said. “We did not see who committed that horrible act. We didn’t see that. But God saw that.”


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Hours before showtime, Las Cruces High's band truck is ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Las Cruces High School Showcase ... The Las Cruces High School Showcase band's trip to Albuquerque this weekend started on a sour note. Hours before the Zia Marching Band Fiesta ...
2
Crime Stoppers release photo of car in fatal ABQ ...
ABQnews Seeker
Crime Stoppers released a photo of ... Crime Stoppers released a photo of the silver Mustang involved in the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man during a road rage incident last ...
3
Police shooting in homicide probe is detailed
ABQnews Seeker
Suspected carjacking by person of interest Suspected carjacking by person of interest
4
Fatal crash nets 6 years
ABQnews Seeker
Judge sentences man who was involved ... Judge sentences man who was involved in 2017 collision
5
Crime Stoppers ups reward for ABQ homicide cases
ABQnews Seeker
The cash reward for tips in ... The cash reward for tips in Albuquerque slayings has more than doubled as the city grapples with a record-breaking year of homicides - many ...
6
FBI: Suspect decapitated man, torched head on Navajo Nation
ABQnews Seeker
What goes around, comes around. That’s ... What goes around, comes around. That’s what authorities say a bloodied hitchhiker told his ride hours after he decapitated a man with an ax ...
7
Competency hearing set in school shooting
ABQnews Seeker
13-year-old will be tried as a ... 13-year-old will be tried as a juvenile if he is deemed fit
8
Suspect held in monthlong string of robberies
ABQnews Seeker
Bandit apologized to victims in over ... Bandit apologized to victims in over a dozen alleged heists
9
Man charged in mother's slaying on West Side
ABQnews Seeker
She had posted bond for son ... She had posted bond for son on Oct. 5 to clear a warrant