WESTMONT BOROUGH (KDKA) — The parents of 34-year-old Jessie Gordon found their daughter unconscious on the floor of her Westmont Borough apartment near Johnstown back on Nov. 13.
Earlier that same day, Gordon’s father had gone to the apartment to order Jessie’s boyfriend, 38-year-old Marcus Taczanowski, to get out.
At the time, Gordon’s father told police that he asked his daughter if Taczanowski had beaten her up, and she told him, “No Dad, I’m OK.”
Then, a few hours later, Gordon was found badly beaten. She died this past Wednesday.
“Miss Gordon died from a closed head injury from blunt force trauma due to an assault,” Cambria County Coroner Jeff Lees said at a Friday afternoon news conference. “The manner of death, I’m ruling a homicide.”
Police said Gordon and Taczanowski were in a relationship. They said before going to Johnstown, Taczanowski was staying at a Pittsburgh halfway house because of a drug problem.
As a result of her injuries, Gordon was never able to talk to police to tell them what had happened to her and how she was hurt, but investigators say she did talk to someone else.
“The victim, Jessie Gordon, conversed with her close friend and identified Marcus Taczanowski as the person who caused the injuries to her,” Capt. George Musulin III, of the West Hills Regional Police Department, said.
Gordon’s father told police he was unaware that Taczanowski was back in his daughter’s life until he showed up at her apartment that day two weeks ago.
When Taczanowski was arrested, police said he was shouting and staggering, and he was initially charged with public drunkenness.
“Domestic violence is tied, I believe, to our drug and alcohol abuse issues. I think when people are using drugs as we’ve seen at the level that we’re seeing it or abusing alcohol, you are more likely to take a fight to that next level,” Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan said. “If you’re in this type of relationship, you need to get out of it. It is literally life or death. An assault can turn deadly in moments.”
Taczanowski is expected to formally be charged with homicide early next week.