Teenage murder suspect was star wrestler

by: Deborah Horne Updated:


Bremerton, Wash. - The photographs KIRO 7 found on the Web of 17-year-old Gabriel Gaeta show him smiling, appearing to enjoy his life. He was consumed, it seems, by the sport of wrestling, and apparently with good reason. He was a star wrestler, along with a brother, at Olympic High School in Bremerton. Two years ago, he was state champion in his weight class in junior freestyle wrestling.

But there are also indications on line of the trouble that he is now facing. On the website Ask.fm, to the question: "Wanna Fight?" He answered, "No, I don't fight. I just kill people until the point where they're dead."

And then, perhaps more ominously, to the question: ''What's the latest thing that made you smile?'' He wrote back, ''A child crying.''

The crime Gaeta is accused of made many of his neighbors cry. Even those who did not know him nor 6-year-old Jenise Wright, the neighbor girl he allegedly raped and murdered. It is a crime so heinous those same strangers, like neighbor Chris Nelson, showed up for his first Kitsap County court appearance.

"I'm just so sorry that it ended up the way it was," said Nelson, her voice breaking.

KIRO 7 asked, "Had you ever seen Gabe before?"

"No," she replied. "Some of the family members' relatives (of the victim) go to my church. And I just had to come."

According to court documents, Gaeta was on an anti-depressant. Now the court has ordered an evaluation to determine if he is fit to stand trial.