Suspect enters not-guilty plea in SF dismemberment murder case

Public defender Alex Lilien stands with Lisa Gonzales, who pleads not guilty to the murder of her of her roommate, Margaret Mamer. Assistant District Attorney Adam Maldonado and Judge Victor M. Hwang look on. Photo by Charlotte Silver.

“Obviously these allegations of dismemberment color this and make it sound terrible,” defense attorney says.


Lisa Gonzales, the woman accused of killing her 61-year-old roommate before dismembering her body, pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Thursday morning.

Her public defender, Alex Lilien, told the court that he is still awaiting discovery, including photographs of the deceased, and the completion of an autopsy. Outside of court, Lilien told reporters he is interested to learn the cause of death and review a toxicology report of the victim. 

“Dismemberment and other allegations would have happened after the person was killed,” Lilien said. “Obviously these allegations of dismemberment color this and make it sound terrible,” he continued, but noted that it is less relevant to issues surrounding the allegation of murder.

He expects the autopsy to take a few weeks to complete.

Police found the remains of Margaret Mamer June 2, up to 18 days after she died, in a large plastic container in Gonzales’ storage unit. Her legs and arms had been severed and stuffed into a maggot-infested plastic bag. Mamer had been reported missing on June 1.

Another, unidentified roommate of Gonzales detailed smelling something foul coming from the bathroom on May 15 and being told by Gonzales not to enter. The next day, the roommate heard a “sawing” sound coming from the bathroom.

Police arrested Gonzales on June 2, at which point she purportedly told police she didn’t have a “real recollection” of what happened next, but she thinks she “flipped.”

“I’d always prefer my client speak with a lawyer, but we take it as it comes,” her attorney said.

Gonzales waived her right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days. Her next hearing will take place on July 18.

Recent calls for service to police can be found on CrimeMapping.

Crime is trauma and the county offers different services, which can be found hereVictims of violent crime can also contact the Trauma Recovery Center at UCSF.

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One Comment

  1. MW

    “Obviously these allegations of dismemberment color this and make it sound terrible,”

    Couldn’t we use something more gentle, like maybe “sorting body parts into different categories.”

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