An Arizona man was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday after a jury found him guilty of kidnapping and killing a Mennonite woman.
Mark Gooch was sentenced to life for murder and an additional five years for the kidnapping charge, which will run consecutively, reported 12NEWS. He was also ordered to pay restitution.
During the sentencing hearing, Coconino County Superior Court Judge Cathleen Nichols said it was “the most senseless case” she presided over, the station reported.
“It just makes no sense why one human being would do this to another human being,” she said.
On Jan. 18, 2020, Sasha Krause was reported missing from the Mennonite Community in Farmington, N.M. The 27-year-old woman mysteriously vanished after running an errand at the Farmington Mennonite Church where she was preparing to teach Sunday school, according to AZFamily.com.
On Feb. 22, police discovered Krause’s lifeless body by a camper near Sunset Crater National Monument in Flagstaff, Ariz., according to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.
She suffered blunt head trauma and was shot in the back of the head. She was found with her wrists bound with duct tape, the court heard during the October trial, AZFamily reports.
During the time Krause was missing, detectives with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office used cell phone records and surveillance video to learn Gooch had traveled from Luke Air Force Base, where he lived, to Farmington. He was arrested in April 2020.
There was no evidence that Krause knew her killer. During the trial, prosecutors said investigators discovered texts between Gooch and his brother that indicated resentment towards the Mennonite community, which Gooch had grown up in but later rejected, according to AZFamily.
Krause’s parents, who live in Texas, didn’t attend the hearing but asked a representative to read a letter to Judge Nichols. Her parents described Krause as a good sister, conscientious, eager to read at a young age and determined, the Associated Press reported.
“God will use her death for His glory, and I am convinced He has eternal purposes for Sasha that we can only guess about, from here,” they wrote.
Before her death, Krause taught school for six years at a Mennonite community in Grandview, Texas, before moving to Farmington, where she worked in a publishing ministry.