By CBS13 Staff

PLEASANT VALLEY (CBS13) – A husband pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the first-degree murder of his wife, Heather Gumina Waters in 2019, the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Anthony John Gumina also pleaded guilty to two counts of felony domestic violence against his wife.

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According to the district attorney, Anthony Gumina admitted in a courtroom filled with Heather’s family and friends that he slammed her to the ground and strangled her until she was no longer breathing. The DA said Gumina also admitted to putting a rope around Heather’s neck so he could move her out of the house.

Anthony Gumina reportedly blamed his deceased wife for hurting his pride and honor, officials said.

“He started, essentially, by trying to justify his actions,” said Cheryl Sommers, a family friend and attorney for Heather’s family.

The district attorney’s office said investigators learned of previous incidents that provided a clearer picture of Anthony Gumina’s past abuse of his wife.

Anthony John Gumina (credit: El Dorado Sheriff)

He was arrested and charged with domestic violence for allegedly tackling his wife to the ground and kicking in the locked bathroom door where she and her 4-year-old child were hiding on Jan. 31, 2019. Anthony Gumina was eventually released from custody and married Heather a month later, officials said.

On July 15, 2019, and while the January domestic violence charge was still pending, Anthony Gumina reportedly broke Heather’s collarbone. According to the DA, Heather did not call 9-1-1 but texted her mother from the hospital saying her husband “tried to kill me.” Heather was released from the hospital the next day and got into an argument with her husband in front of her mother over his concern about how the broken collarbone would affect his pending case.

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The district attorney’s office said that once Heather’s mother left that day, Anthony Gumina killed his wife “in cold blood.” He then called Heather’s mother and told her his wife left and was missing.

“Why he was released, I honestly don’t know,” Sommers said.

Heather’s body was eventually found months later buried on a nearby property in Pleasant Valley. The DA said she was still wearing her hospital ID bracelet, smock and sling she had on while being treated for her broken collarbone.

Allison Kephart, a political advisor with WEAVE, says every judge determines whether the offense is worth keeping the offender behind bars.

“Ultimately, it’s the decision of the judge and a prosecutor can advocate for one outcome or another, but it’s really in the hands of the judge,” Kephart said.

Anthony Gumina was then arrested. He now faces 30 years to life in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on September 3.

“I’m sure most people are asking this when they hear this story, ‘Why did she stay? Why didn’t she just leave?” Sommers said. “And it’s just not that simple. She was trying to protect he family, her children.”

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Just this month, a second suspect was arrested in connection to Heather’s disappearance and murder. Justin Kremer, 40, is suspected of being an accessory to Heather’s murder. His connection to Heather and Anthony Gumina isn’t clear at this point.