In a case that strikes fear in renters, a woman accused of murdering and dismembering her roommate in the Mission District pled not guilty on Thursday.
Lisa Gonzales, 47, pled not guilty to murder charges in the death of 61-year-old Margaret Mamer sometime between May 13 and June 2, Bay City News reports. Police found Mamer’s body stuffed in a plastic container in the building when conducting a welfare check on her.
The two began living together when Gonzales began renting a room on 14th Street near S. Van Ness Avenue to Mamer in August 2017, according to court documents. By December, Gonzales became frustrated by missing or misplaced items and gave Mamer a 30-day notice to leave around mid-April.
When another roommate came home on May 15, Gonzales told her not to go in the bathroom. The roommate also reported a “metallic” smell that day and, later, the scent of vinegar.
Another smell of rotten eggs came the next day after the roommate heard what sounded like a saw being used in the bathroom. She would later notice a hacksaw underneath the sink in the laundry room and a missing plastic container.
The roommate told another person on May 31 that she feared Gonzales murdered Mamer, and that person reported it to the Ingleside police station. The next day, a friend of Mamer’s reported a missing person report, saying they hadn’t seen Mamer since May 15.
Officers went to the apartment on June 2 and noticed a “pungent” odor coming from inside a common storage area. There, a plastic container in plain sight had a plastic bag inside covering in maggots and had liquid coming out.
Gonzales had let the officers search the house but expressed reservation about opening the plastic bag. After officers obtained a search warrant, they discovered Mamer’s intact torso and head and sawed-off limbs before arresting Gonzales.
The medical examiner’s office is still preparing a report on just how Mamer died — which is expected to be ready in the next few weeks — but already concluded that she suffered blunt force trauma and “sharp force” injuries. Deputy Public Defender Alex Lilien said the cause of death will be crucial for the defense.
Gonzales reportedly told investigators that she had no memories of what happened after she and Mamer got into an argument. When asked what happened, she said, “probably nothing good.”
According to court documents, Gonzales served a year in jail after a 2004 conviction of assault with a deadly weapon. She struck a co-worker in the face with a metal object, shattering the woman’s teeth and fracturing her jaw.
Gonzales had lived at the 14th Street apartment for most of her life and is a lifelong San Francisco resident, according to Lilien.