Love triangle caused murder of Gabriel Juarez-Montanez by Cornell Head: The Murder Tapes investigate

Mugshot of Cornell Head Jr
Cornell Head was put away for murdering Gabriel Juarez-Montanez. Pic credit: Michigan Dept. of Corrections

The Murder Tapes is in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to investigate a love triangle that ended in the murder of Gabriel Juarez-Montanez in 2017.

Juarez-Montanez and Cornell Head were both interested in the same woman, and when they resorted to violence late one night in a parking lot, Juarez-Montanez was shot and killed by his love rival.

On July 25, 2017, 911 operators received a call at approximately 2 am of a shooting in Kalamazoo. When officers were dispatched, they found a badly injured Gabriel Juarez-Montanez lying in a parking lot.

Juarez-Montanez had been shot multiple times in his upper torso. There was a pool of blood about 15 feet away from where he was lying, and eyewitnesses told the cops that he had tried to move away from the scene but had collapsed. The police also found shell casings at the scene.

The victim was immediately transported to a nearby hospital, but tragically he passed away a short time later.

The police learned that Juarez-Montanez had an on-off girlfriend living in the area but that she was also romantically involved with Cornell Head.

She told police that the relationship had been tumultuous because Juarez-Montanez could be abusive, particularly when he’d been drinking.

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Gabriel Montanez and Cornell Head were in a love triangle

A colleague of the girlfriend told the police that she had been trying to juggle a relationship with Juarez-Montanez and Head.

On the night of the murder, Head and the girlfriend were sitting in a car in a parking lot behind her apartment building when Juarez-Montanez approached the car. He reportedly had his fists up and was looking for a fight. At this point, Head is thought to have fired on Juarez-Montanez.

At his trial, Head and his attorney argued that he had acted in self-defense. They said that Juarez-Montanez had thrown a punch at the killer. Attorney Robert Champion said his client had “an absolute right to defend himself.”

However, the prosecution and the court decided that there were other actions open to Head rather than resorting to murder. Prosecuting attorney Mehrtens-Carlin argued, “he could have taken the punch, but instead, he took a life.”

Cornell Head was convicted of murder, and in November 2018, the 22-year-old was sentenced to between 30 and 50 years in prison. He was also sentenced to two years each for two counts of felony firearm, which will be served concurrently to the murder sentence.

Head's prison details
Head’s earliest release date is scheduled for 2049. Pic credit: Michigan Dept. of Corrections

More from The Murder Tapes

Follow the links to read about more crimes profiled on The Murder Tapes.

Donald Lewis was a popular jazz musician and club owner in his community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tragically, he was robbed and shot dead by his own employee, Jason Small.

Robert Marzejka attacked his sister Danielle Marzejka and her boyfriend Seren Byran with a hammer as they slept in their bed in Clinton, Michigan. He then suffocated them to death before hiding their bodies in a shed and fleeing the state.

The Murder Tapes air at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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