omar medina

‘Feels Like a New Chapter': Sister of Slain Chula Vista Resident Says Family Ready to Move On After Man Pleads Guilty

Omar Medina, the 28-year-old South Bay man whose slain body was discovered in a barrel in the San Diego Bay, is remembered as a devoted uncle and talented musician

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The sister of a Chula Vista man whose remains were discovered in a barrel in the San Diego Bay after he had been fatally stabbed by his roommate said she is ready to move on to the next chapter of her life now that the man involved in the disposal of her brother’s body pleaded guilty and was sentenced to county jail.

Alicia Villegas is the sister of Omar Medina, the 28-year-old South Bay man who was stabbed 66 times on Sept. 30, 2017 by his roommate, Timothy John Cook. The killer recruited Derrick Spurgeon to help dispose of the body by placing Medina’s remains in a barrel then tossing it into the San Diego Bay.

On Thursday, Spurgeon was sentenced to six months in county jail following his guilty plea of unlawfully disposing of a dead body. Villegas said she was at the district attorney’s office watching a livestream of the sentencing.

“Today was a very special day to me because this most definitely feels like closure,” Villegas said. “This was the last time that I knew that I was going to have to, you know, go through this with him, especially since he’s pleading guilty, which I was very thankful for. It was difficult to just relive that.”

Villegas, who was the last family member to see her brother alive, recalled the gut-wrenching desperation her family felt when they hadn’t heard from Medina before they learned of his tragic end. During Thursday’s sentencing, Villegas said she was able to say a few words to Spurgeon.

“That really did make me feel like I had closure,” she said. “It gave me a voice, and my family, too.”

Omar Medina, 28, was remembered as a devoted uncle who was a skilled musician.
Courtesy of Family
Omar Medina, 28, was remembered as a devoted uncle who was a skilled musician.

She shared that one of the things she told Spurgeon on behalf of her family was how difficult it was initially to not know of Medina’s whereabouts. She also said it was difficult for her loved ones to have a closed casket funeral for her brother.

“My words to him were along just saying how desperate that was and for somebody to do such a thing, your moral compass is broken,” Villegas said. “For you to be that person that somebody called to say, ‘I killed somebody. I need you to help me get rid of this body,’ like, what’s going on inside of you that you would think that that’s okay?”

Villegas added that she forgives Cook and Spurgeon but for herself and not their own benefit. She said that while she and her loved ones continue to heal from the tragedy, family gatherings and holidays are just not the same without Medina, who is remembered as a spirited individual who was quite the virtuoso.

“The best way I can describe Omar is just saying music,” Villegas said. “He was just such a brilliant musician. He played literally a little bit of every instrument and music has always been such a big part of our family and I miss him through everything that has to do with sound.”

An undated image of Omar Medina and his loved ones.
Courtesy of Family
An undated image of Omar Medina and his loved ones.

As the youngest of three children, Medina was a devoted uncle to his siblings’ children.

“I miss him being and uncle. He was such a great uncle and my kids miss him so much,” Villegas sad. “I miss talking to him. He was somebody you could talk to forever and I miss that. I miss having a companion like that.”

Though Medina will forever remain in thoughts and hearts of his closest loved ones, Villegas said she is relieved that this part of her life is done with.

“Today feels like a chapter has definitely closed in my life and I could move on and start a new chapter,” she said. “It’s not going to be the same but I just feel like I don’t have to relive it again.”

Cook was sentenced for second-degree murder, two years after a man's decomposed body was found floating in a barrel. NBC 7's Nicole Gomez reports.
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