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Amber Zavala (23) was strangled to death in her apartment by her ex-boyfriend
Published: Dec 28, 2007 @ 8:50 AM
Amber Zavala (23)
Nov 07, 2007
Cause of Death:
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A woman whose son she says admitted killing his former girlfriend before committing suicide said Thursday she does not condone her son's actions.
Meanwhile she and her other son are awaiting trial based on their alleged actions after learning of the killing.
Patsy Suggs, 47, said she can't remember what time of day it was, Nov. 7, when she got a call from her son.
She said Bobby Joe Suggs told her he strangled his former girlfriend, 23-year-old Amber Zavala.
In search of a safe place to say his goodbyes, he drove toward Eagle Mountain Casino where he would be met by his mother and brother, Jesse Suggs, Patsy Suggs said.
Why Eagle Mountain?
Miles above Porterville, Bobby's cell phone would have no signal, Patsy said, that could be used by law enforcement to trace his location and interrupt him while he said his last goodbyes.
Distraught and with her vehicle pulled to the side of the road, Patsy said she called her son Jesse to drive her to the meeting point.
"Jesse was at work when I called and asked that he would get me, because I was in no condition to drive," Patsy said.
Meanwhile, according to Patsy, a call was made to her daughter who in turn called the police to report the homicide.
The Suggses' final moments together stretched out, Patsy recalled, for at least four hours.
"He didn't have no facial expressions," Pasty said of seeing Bobby after he killed Amber. "He didn't look like Bobby. His eyes were hollow. He told me that it was the last time I'd ever see him."
Patsy said she pleaded with Bobby to turn himself in to police or mental health officials.
"I told him I'd take him and admit him into the mental hospital," Patsy said. "He told me no. He could no longer live with himself."
Her last memory of Bobby is watching the glow of the tail lights on the car as he drove away.
After returning home from the casino and checking on her pregnant daughter, Patsy said she got a ride to the Porterville Police Department, where she provided a description of the vehicle and Bobby's last known whereabouts. She told them he had a gun and would likely shoot them if they tried to make an arrest.
"He knew in his mind what he was going to do," Patsy said. "He wasn't going to let them take him alive. He wanted to go out with a bang, I guess you could say."
Patsy was arrested at the police station and taken to Sierra View District Hospital, where she said she received a shot to calm her before she was transported to jail.
Today both she and Jesse are out on bail and facing charges of being an accessory to a felony after the fact.
As a mother, Patsy said she could never have guessed her son was troubled enough to kill.
"I had no clue," Patsy said. "He wasn't the monster people want to make him out to be."
Bobby's mother then went on to recount years of dangerous behavior, so much so that she said she would warn him his nine lives were about up.
Patsy said she disapproved of her son's cage fighting because Bobby already had a history of head injuries.
"They would go to Lake Success all the time and ride their bikes into the lake," Patsy said. "Well one time he rode his bike off the bluff and missed the water and hit his head."
Bobby's first experience snowboarding, his mother said, landed him in a Fresno hospital suffering from head trauma and swelling in his brain.
"He's been hit by a car, run over, snake bit, scorpion bit -" Patsy said. "Almost every vehicle he ever owned he wrecked. There was nothing that he could do that would surprise me."
Cage fighting, Patsy said she believes, was an outlet for her son's frustrations. He had not participated in a cage fight since July 2006.
"Pain didn't bother him a bit," Patsy said. "When he was younger he pierced his ears with a bicycle post."
As a child, Bobby was seen by a psychologist and as an adult went through an anger management course, Patsy said. When Bobby was 6 his own father shot himself in the family's home.
"Last year he asked if he could have his father's gun," Patsy said. "I know now that if I'd have given it to him he would have used that instead."
With the murder-suicide still fresh in people's minds, Patsy said she feels she is taking the blame for her son's actions.
"My shoulders are pretty big, but they're just about full," Patsy said. "I don't see anything I could have done differently."
The most important thing in Patsy's mind, she said, is for the parents of Amber Zavala to understand that while she will always love her son, she never condoned their daughter's murder.
"I would never do anything to make Bobby think it was OK, what he did," Patsy said. "I don't know what they are going through, but I have a good idea."
Mother tells her side of tragic tale
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