Fresno man on trial, accused of murdering his girlfriend and staging it as a suicide

The jury has the case now and if they find Cervantes guilty on all counts, he faces at least 50 years to life in prison.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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Prosecutors say Daniel Gomez Cervantes shot and killed Miriam Corona in the back of the head while she was sleeping.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A jury is now deciding whether a Fresno man murdered his girlfriend and tried to make it look like a suicide.

Miriam Corona was lying on the couch of her central Fresno home when she died.

"Daniel Gomez Cervantes shot and killed Miriam Corona in the back of the head while she was sleeping," said prosecutor Elana Smith. "She didn't even see it coming."

It took nine years, but 53-year-old Daniel Cervantes is now on trial for the 2013 shooting.

He walked to Walgreens afterwards and called 911, even though a clerk saw him with his own cell phone and believed he was texting.

Prosecutors say it appeared Corona was packed and ready to leave him.

But Cervantes' defense attorneys say the prosecution's case is built on speculation.

"A careful analysis of the evidence of the evidence and the law will lead you to reach a not guilty verdict and this is primarily because of the reasonable possibility that Ms. Corona committed suicide," said Jack Revvill.

They admit the circumstances are suspicious, but say police and prosecutors didn't prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Cervantes said he was hugging Corona on the couch as she pulled the trigger.

Police say they didn't find any blood on him so they think he cleaned up before calling for help.

But prosecutors say Cervantes had gunshot residue on him.

And even though Corona was shot in the back of the head, police found her with the gun in her hand under the side of her head.

"Do you think she would've been able to take the gun, move it, put it underneath her head and then rest her head on top of it?" prosecutor Smith asked the jury.

Defense attorneys pointed out Corona was on the verge of losing full custody of her kids to their father and had a drug problem.

The coroner said suicide was highly unlikely - maybe 80% ruled out based on what he saw at the scene.

"Which is essentially a 20% possibility that it's a suicide," said Revvill.

The jury has the case now and if they find Cervantes guilty on all counts, he faces at least 50 years to life in prison.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

If you are the victim of domestic abuse, or you know someone who is, there is help available 24/7. In Fresno County, call the Marjaree Mason Center at (559) 233-4357. In all other locations, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.