This past April, a Maricopa County Superior Court jury ignored the mama’s boy picture the defense tried to paint of their client and found Dominic Chagolla guilty today of first-degree murder and concealment of a dead body in his mom’s 2010 stabbing death. Today, a judge condemned Chagolla to spend the rest of his natural life in prison.
Chagolla was 32 years old at the time and had no job because his mother, with whom he was living, provided everything he ever wanted. As a result, he spent a lot of his time working out, often three times per day. His excuses would often include going for a run at the park he claimed his mother dropped him off at, and later going to the gym for another workout session. But one day she didn’t come home after dropping her son off at the park. Maria Chagolla’s body was found hidden under a blanket behind the passenger seat of the same car her son claimed she used to drop him off at a Glendale park the day she was reported missing. Police discovered she had been stabbed in the face several times, including in both eyes.
Family members began to question Chagolla who showed up back at the family’s home shortly after leaving with his mother, and was the last person to see her alive. They observed his behavior to be evasive and defiant. Unfortunately, Chagolla wasn’t counting on the fact that there might have been witnesses to what he had just done. It turned out that two tile setters were working in the area where his mother was found dead. They saw a light-skinned male walking in the area carrying a black gym bag, and watched him jump a fence leading to a residential neighborhood. He later came back over the fence, without the bag. The workers found that bag in a trash can on the other side of the fence, and that bag was full of bloody clothes.
A family friend later told police the bloody clothes and the bag both belonged to Dominic Chagolla. That friend also told police Chagolla left the house with that bag, and did not return with that bag. Chagolla told police the bloody clothes were his, but he denied having any part in his mother’s murder. Chagolla also claimed ownership of bloody shoes found in the bag, but claimed he’d thrown those out a while back.
Chagolla’s previous criminal history includes arrests for assault, criminal damage, and possessing burglary tools, and he was also named as a defendant in a purged domestic-violence case.
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