Linda Gabaldon, 45, said she arrived home to find Rebecca Brau shot to death.

Sacramento roommate who reported killing is now suspect

Published: Friday, Apr. 26, 2013 - 6:34 pm | Page 2B
Last Modified: Sunday, Apr. 28, 2013 - 9:33 am

The woman who allegedly claimed she came home to find her roommate's dead body Monday afternoon is now accused of playing a more significant role in the woman's death. She didn't discover the body, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department alleges; she's the one who left it there.

On Thursday, detectives booked 45-year-old Linda Gabaldon on suspicion of murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Rebecca Brau, 53.

Sheriff's authorities said detectives found evidence that was inconsistent with Gabaldon's version of events.

That version began with a call to 911 just before 4 p.m. Tuesday, saying she had returned home to find her roommate dead, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Brau, who suffered gunshot wounds, was pronounced dead inside the home in the 5900 block of Mascot Avenue in the Fruitridge area.

Detectives suspect the shooting occurred about 9:30 p.m. Monday, when a 911 caller reported hearing gunshots in the area. Deputies responded but left the area after they found nothing amiss, said sheriff's Sgt. Jason Ramos.

On Tuesday, after Gabaldon's call, another 911 caller told dispatchers he had heard gunshots the night before but didn't think to report them until he noticed the large police presence, Ramos said.

Ramos said detectives suspect Gabaldon and Brau got into a fight Monday night before Gabaldon pulled out a gun and shot Brau. No gun was recovered, and detectives found no signs of forced entry, Ramos said.

Detectives believe that Gabaldon and Brau were in a romantic relationship, but Ramos said the victim's family has insisted they were only roommates.

Efforts by The Bee to reach Brau's relatives were unsuccessful Thursday. According to the state's Bureau of Barbering and Cosmetology, she had been a licensed cosmetologist since 1977.

From the Sacramento County Main Jail, Gabaldon declined media interviews.

After her 911 call Tuesday, Gabaldon was detained and questioned by detectives. They later arrested her on suspicion of violating parole.

She was on "post-release community supervision," meaning that upon her release from prison, she was being supervised by county probation officers, rather than state parole officers.

The "PRCS" status was created as part of the 2011 prison realignment plan that shifted more incarceration and parole supervision responsibilities to counties.

According to records from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Gabaldon was released from prison in 2012 after serving a four-year sentence for battery out of Madera County.

She previously was incarcerated from the end of 2001 to the beginning of 2008 following convictions in Sacramento County for home-invasion robbery and resisting arrest, according to state corrections department records.

Sacramento Superior Court records available online show Gabaldon was charged with her first criminal offense in 1991. That year, she pleaded guilty to welfare fraud and was sent to an alternative sentencing program.

Then, in 1999, she pleaded no contest to misdemeanor grand theft and was sentenced to 60 days of work furlough, the records show.

Gabaldon is scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charge today.

BACKGROUND

Linda Gabaldon was on "post-release community supervision," meaning that upon her release from prison, she was being supervised by Sacramento County probation officers, rather than state parole officers.

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038. Follow her on Twitter @kim_minugh.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Kim Minugh



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