A Bowling Green man who was arrested in connection with the death of his late wife’s naturopathic caregiver has admitted guilt.
Omer Ahmetovic, 36, pleaded guilty Friday in Warren Circuit Court to second-degree manslaughter and tampering with physical evidence.
Ahmetovic was accused of shooting and killing Juan Sanchez Gonzalez, 59, on March 2 or March 3, 2017, at The Natural Health Center for Integrative Medicine, which was Gonzalez’ office on the U.S. 31-W By-Pass.
A grand jury initially charged Ahmetovic with murder, but his guilty plea is based on information from Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron that replaced the murder charge with second-degree manslaughter and added the tampering count.
The plea agreement recommends a 12-year prison sentence for Ahmetovic, who has been in Warren County Regional Jail since his arrest March 8, 2017.
“I think this is a fair resolution in light of all the mitigating factors,” Alan Simpson, Ahmetovic’s attorney, said after Friday’s hearing.
Gonzalez’s family declined to comment as they left the courtroom.
At the time of the homicide, Ahmetovic had an active lawsuit against Gonzalez in which the caregiver was accused of fraud, negligence, battery, practicing medicine without a license, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act.
According to the lawsuit, Ahmetovic’s wife, Fikreta Ibrisevic, had been diagnosed with a form of soft-tissue cancer and visited Gonzalez’s office to discuss natural therapies while waiting to be scheduled for the start of traditional cancer treatments.
Ibrisevic began treatments that included buying herbs from Gonzalez, massages, foot soaks and dietary instructions, but she developed six additional tumors and was told by two naturopathic experts that she had a toxic reaction to an excessive amount of herbs, according to the lawsuit.
Ibrisevic, who was a plaintiff in the lawsuit, later underwent chemotherapy but died in February 2017.
Simpson said the case has been weighing heavily on Ahmetovic’s mind for a long time.
“He wanted to be honest about what happened, but he also wanted to provide the context for why it happened,” Simpson said.
Warren Circuit Judge Steve Wilson is set to formally sentence Ahmetovic on May 29.