Airman on trial in Arizona in death of Mennonite woman

Jury selection continued on Sept. 22 in the case of a U.S. Air Force airman charged in the shooting death of a Mennonite woman.

Mark Gooch, 22, faces up to life in prison if he is convicted of first-degree murder and other charges in the disappearance and death of Sasha Krause, 27.

Krause was gathering material for Sunday school in a Mennonite community in Farmington, New Mexico, when she disappeared in mid-January last year. A camper discovered Krause’s body in a forest clearing outside Flagstaff, Arizona, more than a month later.

Sasha Krause

Sasha Krause (San Juan County Sheriff's Office, NM)

Gooch was stationed at Luke Air Force Base in metropolitan Phoenix at the time. He told investigators he was near Farmington — about a seven-hour drive — when Krause went missing because he had been seeking out Mennonite churches for the fellowship. But he said he did not kidnap or kill her, according to a recording of the interview.

There is no indication that they knew each other. Krause moved to Farmington from Texas where she was a teacher. Gooch grew up in the Mennonite faith in Wisconsin but never officially joined the church, he told investigators.

Prosecutor Ammon Barker will try to convince the jury that Gooch was motivated to kill Krause by a general disdain for Mennonites. A bullet taken from Krause’s skull was fired from a .22-caliber rifle that Gooch owned, a state crime lab report showed.

Authorities said they tied Gooch to the crime using cellphone data, financial records and surveillance video. Gooch’s attorney, Bruce Griffen, has said using cellphone data to determine location isn’t scientifically sound.

The trial began Tuesday in Coconino County Superior Court. It’s scheduled to last three weeks.

Continuing Coverage

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news:

Sign up for FOX 10 email alerts, newsletters

Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 10 News app. It is FREE! Download for Apple iOS or Android.