High Point murder: Jose J. Gonzalez-Leos charged with murdering Nga Nguyen

A charge of first-degree murder is now filed against 20-year-old Jose Jesus Gonzalez-Leos of White Center in connection with the killing of his ex-girlfriend’s mother in High Point last December. He is the man arrested last Saturday on suspicion he killed 46-year-old Nga Nguyen, found dead in her closet on December 14th, from strangulation and blunt-force head injury. Charging documents say he broke into Nguyen’s apartment through a second-story window on December 14th after going there in hopes of speaking with the victim’s daughter. The documents allege he killed her with a motive including sexual gratification; evidence described in the charging papers includes DNA found on the victim’s body that matched Gonzalez-Leos’s saliva. He is described as having no apparent felony history, though, as we reported last Saturday, online records indicate he is facing charges of stolen-property trafficking in south King County, and court documents say he told investigators he is addicted to meth and marijuana. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 19th to answer the charge; his bail remains set at $2 million.

ADDED 9:18 PM: More information from the charging documents:

After the murder, CSI detectives “located a partially wrapped Nerf gun on the ground in a neighbor’s yard to the north of the victim’s house. The Christmas wrapping paper on the present matched wrapping paper that detectives found inside Nguyen’s residence.”

Meantime, the victim’s daughter told detectives about “ongoing problems” with her ex-boyfriend, with whom she had broken up three months earlier. The documents say he “had shown up uninvited previously at her residence” and “had previous disturbances with her mother.” She verified she had recently bought a Nerf gun, wrapped it as a Christmas gift, and left it in her bedroom, where it was when she left the house the night before her mother was found dead.

When detectives first talked with Gonzalez-Leos two days later, he denied having gone to the Nguyen residence on December 13 or 14, but said he had gone there after hearing about the murder, leaving when he “saw the police locks on the outside of the residence,” court documents say.

Police collected a DNA sample from him, with his consent, on December 17. They received samples from the victim’s autopsy nine days after that; it all went to the State Patrol Crime Lab for DNA analysis.

After the victim’s daughter went back inside the residence for the first time after the murder, detectives met her there on January 9th. She pointed out a screen missing from her mother’s bedroom window upstairs, the room where her body was found in the closet; the screen was found behind a fence nearby. CSI detectives came to the scene again and worked in that area, where they found what looked like a partial shoeprint on the roof outside the window, and fingerprints from inside the window. Three days later, prints were identified as those of Gonzales-Leos. Four weeks after that, his palm print was identified on the box containing the mentioned-earlier Nerf gun, which the daughter had bought two days before her mother as killed.

Then on February 28th, DNA analysts reported the match between Gonzalez-Leos and saliva on the victim’s body. He was arrested the next day, and, the documents say, first continued to deny any involvement – until “further discussion regarding the evidence recovered at the scene …” at which time he admitted that after a confrontation, he “struck her, strangled her, and hid her in the bedroom closet.”

12 Replies to "High Point murder: Jose J. Gonzalez-Leos charged with murdering Nga Nguyen"

  • Yo March 5, 2014 (4:12 pm)

    Wow. Sad.

  • Sandal40 March 5, 2014 (7:10 pm)

    Cannot even put my feelings in words out of pure sorrow

  • elayne March 5, 2014 (8:11 pm)

    And this POS is only looking at 20 some odd years? Really? REALLY??

  • Gabby March 5, 2014 (8:45 pm)

    It says he is 20 years old, not facing 20 years in prison.

    • WSB March 5, 2014 (9:05 pm)

      Re: potential penalty, this actually was included in the prosecuting attorney’s office e-mail: “If convicted as charged, the standard sentence range for Gonzalez-Leos is 20 to 26 years in prison.”
      It was part of a summary blurb in the format they usually use for posting to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office home page, with daily updates on key cases – but for some reason they did not post the blurb there – I have not doublechecked the sentencing range to see if that’s true, so I did not quote it, though I am adding additional material to the story from the charging documents – TR

  • WhyWhyWhy March 5, 2014 (8:58 pm)

    Speechless. What a tragedy. Sending prayers to everyone that is hurting.

  • carole March 5, 2014 (9:39 pm)

    Sentencing guidelines for first degree murder, with no prior felonies (i.e. an offender score of zero), is a minimum 20 yrs.

  • trl March 6, 2014 (11:51 am)

    Much love and blessings to the family during this nightmare. Thinking of you all.

  • LaShana March 17, 2014 (7:07 am)

    I have known Nga and her daughter for over 16 years. She was a very good person, maybe too good at times. I got to know Nga, when our daughters were young, very young. We were neighbors in old Highpoint, and then neighbors in new Highpoint. What are the odds of us being neighbors at both complexes; all I can say is that God made it be. Trang if you see this post please contact me…this is Adrianna’s mom!! I so want to talk to you!!! I have always loved you and your mom!! Love Shana!!

  • LaShana March 17, 2014 (7:12 am)

    I have so many memories of Nga, with my life in West Seattle. She was my first neighbor. I do not usually believe in mandatory minimums but this man deserves more than the mandatory minimum he deserves the maximum!

  • creatorr24 March 20, 2014 (9:13 am)

    in vietnam, he will get a death sentence, not in prison.he will pay for what he has done . please dont waste our tax payers. we dont need him in this society here.

  • Tee March 21, 2014 (1:48 pm)

    Its been years since we’ve spoken. I would love to see you again. We can get together and talk a lot more.

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