Phoenix man sentenced to 50 years in prison for murder of pregnant wife

Dec 21, 2023, 12:48 PM

Gilbert Villareal was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the 2012 murder of his pregnant girlfrien...

Gilbert Villareal was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the 2012 murder of his pregnant girlfriend. (MCSO Photo)

(MCSO Photo)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix man was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the 2012 murder of his wife and her unborn child, authorities announced Thursday.

Gilbert Villareal, 36, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in the stabbing of his pregnant wife, 22-year-old Shelia Lomes, at her apartment complex near 32nd Avenue and Beardsley Road on the night of March 26, 2012.

Their 2-year-old son witnessed the murder, according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Villareal stabbed Lomes 38 times.

“Remember, a two-year-old child witnessed this awful crime,” Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said in a press release. “I hope that one day, when he is old enough to understand, he will recognize there were dozens of people on his side, fighting for justice.”

Villareal fled to Mexico after the murder and evaded custody until December 2016 when he was arrested in Cancun for stabbing a woman in the neck.

He served three years in a Mexican prison for attempted homicide, and then his custody was transferred to Interpol, an international police agency, before his eventual extradition to Arizona in 2021.

“Finding a way to bring this defendant back to the U.S. to face his crimes was a particularly challenging process,” Mitchell said. “Our lawyers and support staff were relentless in their efforts to ensure he was located and returned here.”

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Phoenix man sentenced to 50 years in prison for murder of pregnant wife