Man to Stand Trial in Wife's Sidewalk Shooting Death

Witness testifies man explained shooting his wife saying "I've been dealing with this for years"

Witnesses recalled the horrific moments when a woman was shot and killed on a busy downtown San Diego street corner.

Deborah Gotell, 57, was shot in the head and arm on a sidewalk at Fifth Avenue and Broadway on Saturday, May 14, 2011. She died several days later.

Prosecutors say Gotell's husband gunned down his wife in broad daylight, tossed the gun immediately and tried to flee.

The loud fight captured the attention of crowds on the busy downtown street on a Saturday afternoon.

Witness Carolyn Louise Manigault recalled seeing Joseph Gotell, now 85, slam Deborah’s head up against a store window.

“She was struggling. He overpowered her. She couldn’t get up,” Manigault testified at a pre-trial hearing Thursday.

Then, after hearing a loud noise, Manigault said she turned and saw the victim sitting on the ground, leaning up against the building with a bullet wound in her right temple.

Gregory Bowler was across the street from the argument and at first didn't believe the noises were gunshots.

His friends joked the loud pop or bang was "probably a shooting" he testified. Then, seconds later they heard more noises.

Bowler said he looked across the street and saw a man holding a gun at a woman and firing it directly at her, at pointblank range.

Witnesses told police Joseph Gotell dropped the gun to the ground and tried to casually walk away however security guards held him down until police arrived.

“There was a tear in her jacket her arm area and also here was a red spot on her head. That spot at the time still had smoke coming out of it,” Bowler testified.

As he checked Deborah Gotell for a pulse, Bowler testified he heard someone nearby ask Joseph Gotell why he shot her.

Bowler testified that Gotell said, “’That f_ing b__ch, I’ve been dealing with this for years’ or something along those lines.

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.

"I don't feel like honestly we took it seriously enough," one daughter said.

The Gotells were married for about 5 years but separated just before the shooting prosecutors said.

Judge Peter Deddeh held the case over for trial. Gotell faces a murder charge along with an additional charge of firing a weapon that carries an additional 25 year sentence.

A trial date was set for March.

Contact Us