An 85-year-old San Diego man who shot and killed his estranged wife in the middle of downtown received the maximum sentence Friday.
Joseph Gotell was convicted of murdering Deborah Meeks Gotell, 57 on a Saturday afternoon on the corner of at Fifth Avenue and Broadway.
In May 2011, Gotell shot his wife in the head in broad daylight and tossed the gun. As he walked away, Gotell told a nearby witness “That f_ing b__ch, I’ve been dealing with this for years” according to testimony.
On Friday, as the judge sentenced Gottel to the maximum 50 years to life in prison, he called the murder horrifying, shocking and premeditated.
Gotell tried to control his wife, the judge said, and when she tried to leave he stalked her, harassed her and ultimately killed her.
The killing was traumatic not only for her four daughters, but for the dozens of witnesses downtown who saw the murder the judge added.
Three of Deborah Meeks-Gotell’s daughters were in court for the sentencing. It has been a very emotional two years for them.
Magen Queen, on behalf of Deborah's oldest daughter Satimah Collins, told the court, “You cannot judge a book by its cover. He may be old but his age had nothing to do with his ability to be dangerous, vindictive, controlling mean and a calculated murderer."
Deborah's daughters say throughout the two years in court, Gotell never showed remorse.
Even as he was being sentenced, Gotell said he regretted his actions, but never apologized for them.
Meeks’ daughter Nefera Croom said she was relieved by the sentence and that the family is ready to put this chapter behind them.
“He’s a danger to people around him and to himself,” Croom said.
The Gotells were married for 5 years but separated before the shooting. In an earlier interview with NBC 7 San Diego, Deborah Gotell's three daughters described earlier threats of violence made by Joseph toward their mother.