VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The confession from the man who admitted to killing Bellamy Gamboa will not be suppressed at the upcoming trial, a judge ruled Wednesday after listening to the interrogation evidence.
Lamont Johnson, who admitted to killing Bellamy Gamboa back in July 2018, sought to have the confession thrown out. His lawyers claimed there was a coercive environment from law enforcement that led to the confession.
After the ruling, Bellamy Gamboa’s father talked about the toll that the loss of his daughter, and the three years that have passed since, have taken on the family.
“I just want to get this over with. It’s been a struggle, and it’s been a long three years for us. It’s been pretty stressful,” said Emmanuel Gamboa.
When Johnson entered the courtroom Wednesday morning in handcuffs and an orange city jail jumpsuit, Emmanuel Gamboa could not bear to look at him.
“I tried not to look at him, I don’t want to have any contact with him, I don’t want to see him. It just brings back sad memories,” Emmanuel Gamboa said.
Johnson was arrested in late July 2018, four weeks after the mother of their twins went missing. Virginia Beach police detectives questioned him for 18 hours, and Johnson’s attorney argued that his admission of guilt toward the end of that time was the result of physical discomfort and psychological pressure caused by the detectives.
But Judge Jim Lewis disagreed and denied the defense motion to suppress the statement.
Her sister in California says she doesn’t recall any indication from Bellamy Gamboa that she was in any danger in the summer of 2018 when she went missing.
“I didn’t see much leading up to anything this tragic,” Charisse Gamboa said. “Nothing where it was abuse or in fear of her life.”
Charisse Gamboa attended a July hearing for Johnson, and spent time with family, going through pictures. She says she will return for the January trial.
Johnson was charged with second-degree murder after police said he confessed to pushing Bellamy Gamboa, a mother of four, down a flight of stairs and choking her to death.
“I only want justice for Bellamy. That’s all I’m here for and I will do my very best to obtain that justice,” Emmanuel Gamboa said. If convicted on the second-degree murder charge, Johnson would face from five to 40 years in prison.
Johnson and Bellamy Gamboa met while working at the same shipping company. Despite the claim by police that he led them to the dumpster where he left Bellamy Gamboa, her body was never found.
Johnson is now scheduled to go to trial Jan. 24.
Look for more coverage from WAVY’s Chris Horne coming up on WAVY News 10 at 5 p.m.