PLEASANT VALLEY (CBS13) – A husband was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole for the brutal 2019 murder of his wife.
In June, Anthony Gumina, 44, admitted to using his bare hands and a rope to strangle Heather Gumina Waters at their home. Her body was found buried months later on a nearby property in Pleasant Valley.READ MORE: Memorial Service For Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee: What You Need To Know
Friday, there was not one dry eye inside the courtroom as that sentence was handed down. Heather’s mother Joanna Russel detailed the cycle of domestic abuse that led to her daughter’s death.
“He fooled a lot of people and unfortunately he fooled my daughter,” she said.
She calls it a web of lies and alibis.
“I guess I would call him a soul-less human being the way he took my daughter’s life,” she said.
Inside the Placerville courtroom, Gumina, in handcuffs and an orange facemask, had his eyes laser-focused in front of him.
He never turned around to face Heather’s family as they read their victim impact statements.
Gumina did look up to watch a slideshow presentation of Heather’s life featuring photos of her and her children.
“She mattered to us and we lost everything,” Russell said.READ MORE: Children In Parental Abduction Out Of Riverside County Found Safe In Modesto; Suspect In Custody
In 2019, deputies found Heather’s body in Pleasant Valley after she was reported missing weeks earlier.
Gumina was arrested and charged with her murder. The district attorney says a domestic violence charge was filed against him—Heather was the victim.
She was set to testify in that case the month she disappeared.
“She was stuck in a cycle of abuse and she didn’t make it out,” Russell said.
Even though Gumina admitted in court to the brutal killing, outside the courtroom, his longtime friends call this a “crime of passion.”
“Tony isn’t a monster, he’s not a monster at all,” said one friend, Pam.
But family and the district attorney paint a different picture, one of a premeditated crime and a history of domestic violence.
“My family has been through so much pain,” said Russell. “She always saw the good in everyone and unfortunately she even saw the good in tony
Family says they’re hopeful that when Gumina comes up for parole he won’t be eligible.MORE NEWS: Sacramento Police Say Thieves Target Women Along Stockton Boulevard In Broad Daylight
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.