SEATTLE -- Vicky Jordan has spent the last 22 months grieving for her son and worrying his killer would never be caught. So, when she saw 30-year-old David Gallegos in a Pierce County courtroom on Thursday, it was surreal.
"It's really too much for us right now. We're kind of in shock all over again," said Jordan.
Gallegos is charged with second-degree murder for stabbing 36-year-old Danny Guerin on August 27, 2015, in Seeley Park, not far from the Lakewood Police Department.
Earlier this month, detectives say they were approached by two people who told them Gallegos had confessed to the murder, telling them he was "sitting in some bushes on a bad high and hearing voices in his head."
He had been staying at a mental health facility nearby. They said Gallegos told them that when Guerin drove into the parking lot at the park, he thought Guerin was there to rob him so he ran up to the truck and started stabbing him.
"The information they had received, they actually went to the Washington's Most Wanted website and started and looking up some information and they were able to find the actual case," said Lt. Andy Gildehaus.
The murder weighed heavily on their consciences so they came forward and worked with detectives. Court documents show Gallegos was recorded showing no remorse and saying, "My life's over and then I gotta worry about going to the hole for the rest of my life."
Guerin's case had gone cold up to that point.
"We really want to thank the person who came forward and gave us a little piece of solitude at night knowing justice will be served," said his sister, Shannon Guerin.
They are planning to celebrate Danny's birthday later this month.
"I'm looking forward to this period where we at least know who did it and how senseless it was and that he's behind bars," said Danny's mom, who is grateful to Lakewood Police.
"It doesn't bring the victim back but we hope it helps the family to begin their healing process," said Gildehaus.
Gallegos is being held in jail in lieu of $1 million bail. "Citizens solved this murder mystery," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. "Kudos for those who came forward for the good of our community."