The fact that Brandon Paul Gotwalt is still walking the streets of Fairfax County seems scarier every day. Gotwalt, a U.S. Navy veteran now working for a Fairfax defense contractor, was never arrested or indicted for beating and shooting the unarmed Steve Cornejo in the back in the courtyard of a Fair Oaks apartment complex in June 2005.
But since last week, when a civil jury found Gotwalt liable for the wrongful death of Cornejo, folks who know the killer are coming forward to say they could tell he was a real creep before the verdict confirmed it.
Two posters on the Washington Post Web site told of witnessing a violent episode from Gotwalt nearly a year after he’d killed Cornejo.
And a blogger who’d written in May 2006 about a fight at his house that was started by an unnamed disturbed douchebag appended a postscript last week to that post so his readers would know that the disturbed douchebag in question was none other than Gotwalt:
I should add that Brandon’s parting words to Jesse before he came back and attacked him were, ‘I’ve killed men for less’. Everyone in the kitchen heard it though some may have been too drink to remember it.
Apparantly, it’s also true.
I got a call from a non-blogging partygoer from Northern Virginia who says he heard Gotwalt accuse another guest of hitting on his girlfriend the night of the blogged-about fight, and in a rage yell, “I’ve killed men for less!” before bashing down a door and trying to attack the alleged suitor. This partygoer, who called after reading a previous City Paper story about the Cornejo case, requested anonymity because, well, now he knows Gotwalt really has killed men for less. He says that he’d seen the killer’s irrational and violent sides even before that episode, and that ever since that night his friends have tried to keep tabs on Gotwalt’s social schedule to avoid ever being around him.
“Seeing his behavior that night, and now reading the stories about the evidence at the trial, about what he did, that’s very chilling,” says the partygoer. “That all sounded like the Brandon I knew.”