After answering her front door, Mae Goto was herded into the kitchen of her Bedford home by three teens one of whom was armed with a butcher knife, then ordered to lie face down with her hands behind her back.
Within minutes, then-16-year-old Charles Lamont Duncan pulled the 57-year-old woman’s head back a little and slit her throat. He then held her head back so that she would bleed to death.
It was April. 2, 1992, but Bedford Police Chief David Flory said he remembers it like it was yesterday.
“For me, it was the most brutal killing,” Flory said who was a lieutenant at that time. He was in charge of the investigators on the Goto case that day. He has been in law enforcement for 28 years. “It was one that didn’t make any sense. It started out as a burglary and it ended up an initiation into a gang.”
Sixteen years ago, Bedford and the surrounding Northeast Tarrant County cities were somewhat quiet bedroom communities. Burglaries and thefts were the main problems for patrol officers, but gangs began to make their way into the suburbs.
They jarred the suburbs with the Goto slaying.
Days after Goto was killed, then-15-year-old Joseph Botts and 17-year-old Gerald Kowalk were arrested by police in connection with her murder.
Duncan was found already in jail for an assault in North Richland Hills. They were members of the Hoova Crips, a loosely organized, mostly high school-age Northeast Tarrant County gang.
According to their statements to police, the teens considered several plans to get money for marijuana on that evening: sell jewelry belonging to Kowalk’s mother, rob a pizza delivery driver or someone in nearby Brookhollow Park, or burglarize a home in Euless’ Morrisdale Estate.
The quest for quick cash, police said, led Duncan and his two accomplices to Goto’s home in the 800 block of Rankin Drive in Bedford. It was just blocks away from Kowalk’s home.
Takashi Goto left the couple’s Bedford home that evening after finishing dinner. He went to an Irving health club. He returned about 10 p.m. to find his wife lying face down on the kitchen floor.
The three teens took about $240 and a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey.
Duncan and Botts were certified to stand trial as adults on capital murder charges. Kowalk also was charged with capital murder.
A Tarrant County jury convicted Duncan of capital murder and sentenced him to life in prison in July 1993. A few months later, Kowalk and Botts also were sentenced to life in prison on charges of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon in the Goto case. Kowalk also was sentenced to five years in prison for retaliation. He tried to intimidate witnesses in the Goto case.
Duncan, 32, remains in the McConnell Unit in Beeville while Kowalk, 33, is at the Coffield Unit in Tennesse Colony. Botts, 31, is at the Daniel Unit in Rosharon.
-- Domingo Ramirez Jr.