A burglar already serving a 45-year prison term for killing a woman during a break-in was sentenced Thursday to life in prison plus 76½ years in a similar case. "The trail of death, destruction and heartache left by this man ... is staggering," said Assistant Atlantic County Prosecutor Ellen Loughney.
Andrei Goumnov, 25, a babyfaced Russian immigrant who came to the United States in 1996 on a tourist visa, embarked on a crime spree in which he allegedly staged four home invasions in Pennsylvania and New Jersey over an 18-month period.
He was sentenced Thursday for a Nov. 4, 1997, attack in which he broke into a rural Hamilton Township home and tied up Kathy Botbyl and her son. Goumnov shot Botbyl's 49-year-old husband to death when he walked in on the robbery and then shot the son in the face before stealing Mrs. Botbyl's car.
Goumnov, who chose the house at random, pleaded guilty to capital murder, attempted murder, burglary and other charges in the attack. Prosecutors sought the death penalty but a jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision.
His lawyers argued that Goumnov's troubled childhood as the son of an abusive, alcoholic Russian army officer left him with psychiatric problems from which he never recovered.
Four months after the Botbyl killing, Goumnov killed Gloria Jean Baglio, 53, in a break-in at her Upper Deerfield Township home.
Goumnov shot Baglio in the head and strangled her before stealing $20,000 in cash, $5,000 in savings bonds, a coin collection and a personal computer. He covered her body with an exercise bicycle.
Goumnov pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter in that case and was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Goumnov is suspected of two October 1997 break-ins in Pennsylvania, but has been charged in only one of them. In that case, he allegedly invaded a Springfield Township, Pa., home and used clear tape to tie a woman down while he robbed the house.
When the woman's 5-month-old infant would not stop crying, he taped the baby to the bound woman and carried on with the robbery, Loughney said.
He is also a suspect in a Shamokin, Pa., home invasion that occurred 10 days before that, according to Loughney. A stolen gun used in the Botbyl slaying was traced to the home, as were two Shamokin High School class rings seized from Goumnov's home in a search, she said.
In court Thursday, Goumnov made no comment when asked by Superior Court Judge Albert Garofolo if he had anything to say. Afterward, he was escorted from the courtroom in handcuffs and shackles as Mrs. Botbyl sat crying in the gallery.
"This stone cold killer will never see the light of day again, and I'm glad for that," said Cumberland County Prosecutor Arthur Marchand, who prosecuted him in the Baglio killing.