San Jose: Homicide declared in man’s death after alleged roommate assault

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Following the completion of a coroner’s investigation, the death of a man who was allegedly assaulted by his roommate nine months ago has been officially declared a homicide, authorities announced Thursday.

According to San Jose police, Gabriel Jerome Palma, 59, was living in an East San Jose home on Florence Avenue with 29-year-old David Gregg on Oct. 22 when Gregg punched Palma “several times in the face” and then fled.

When responding police officers approached Palma, he refused medical attention. The officers searched the area but did not find Gregg. However, another resident of the house discovered Palma lying on the floor of his bedroom “after apparently collapsing and hitting his head on the edge of his bed frame,” according to police, and Palma was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries.

Palma died on Oct. 28, according to police and the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office. Gregg was arrested on Nov. 11 by county sheriff’s deputies after San Jose police detectives obtained an arrest warrant for him. He was charged with felony assault.

On July 27, San Jose police said they received an investigative report from the coroner’s office concluding that Palma’s death was a homicide. The coroner also stated that he died as a result of complications from a blunt-force head injury and a subdural hemorrhage.

According to police, the district attorney’s office is reviewing the case for additional charges in light of the homicide declaration. This is also the 22nd homicide investigated by San Jose police this year.

Meanwhile, Gregg’s assault prosecution has been on hold since April after a court ordered an evaluation of his mental competence and fitness to stand trial, according to court records. He has a court hearing scheduled for September 1 to determine his competence.

  • Anyone with information for the homicide investigation should call 408-277-5283 or email Lt. Mike White at or Detective Sgt. Ted Reckas at Tips can also be left with Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers by calling 408-947-7867 or visiting

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