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Judge denies motion to suppress suspect's confession in Virginia Beach mother's murder case

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Posted at 11:36 AM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 17:54:56-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - In court Wednesday, a judge denied a motion to suppress a confession made by a man suspected of murdering the mother of his young twins in 2018.

Lamont Johnson's confession to police, in which he told them how he allegedly killed Bellamy Gamboa, was originally played in court in 2019. Gamboa, a mother of four, was last seen on July 1, 2018, and her body has not been found despite extensive searches.

"I really, really miss her. I wish she was here with us," said Bellamy's father, Emmanuel Gamboa, after Wednesday's court proceeding.

On the tape from 2018, Johnson said he threw Gamboa down the stairs of their Virginia Beach home while they were arguing. Johnson told police he "snapped" and began choking Gamboa in front of their young twins. He also told police that he did not stop until Gamboa was foaming at the mouth and not responding.

In a second recording, Johnson reenacted how he put Gamboa's body into a Chesapeake dumpster hours after he killed her.

In July, the defense filed a motion to suppress the evidence, meaning they were asking the court to throw out Johnson's incriminating statements.

They said he was "coerced by police" and interrogated for some 19 hours even after he said, "I don't have anything else to say, man. If y'all wanna take me to jail... I don't have anything else to say, man."

The motion states in part, "Not only is he deprived of basic human necessities, like sleep and nourishment, but the psychological trickery employed by the detectives, such as the mentioning of family and the use of junk science compound his already compromised state."

The prosecution, on the other hand, said seven discs of evidence prove the police were within the law and said Johnson was the one who continued the conversation. They created a timeline that detailed the time Johnson was fed and took bathroom and smoke breaks.

Prosecutors cited evidence where Johnson said, "If I was trying to protect myself, I would have asked for a lawyer. I'm cooperating with you guys."

Furthermore, the Commonwealth's response to the motion to suppress evidence said the defendant did not make a clear and unambiguous invocation of his right to remain silent and that his will was not overcome, nor was his capacity for self-determination critically impaired.

The judge ultimately sided with the Commonwealth and denied the motion, meaning Johnson's confession will be allowed in court.

"I only want justice for Bellamy. That's all I’m here for, and I will do my very best to obtain that justice," Gamboa said. "I just want to get this over with. It's been a struggle, it's been a long three years for us. Not just for me, but for the whole family."

Bellamy's children will be five in October, and her father said they are doing very well. While he awaits Johnson's trial, he's also going through court proceedings to gain full custody of the twins.

He said the wants the public to know that his daughter was, "a good person; a good mother who loves her children very much. Her children meant the world to her."

Johnson's jury trial is scheduled for January 24, 2022.