Local News

Raleigh man makes court appearance in boyfriend's stabbing death

Posted January 14, 2014

— A Raleigh man made a tearful first court appearance Tuesday in connection with the weekend stabbing death of his boyfriend.

Raleigh police were dispatched to 4129-206 Lake Lynn Drive around 6:40 a.m. Saturday in response to a 911 call reporting that Andrew Jay Tongate wasn't breathing.

"My boyfriend has been doing methamphetamines and stabbed himself in the chest," the caller – identified in an incident report as Gavin Joseph Zacherl – told a dispatcher.

Tongate, 28, was taken to WakeMed, where he was pronounced dead.

Zacherl, 31, of 4129-206 Lake Lynn Drive, was arrested Monday on a charge of murder, Raleigh police said.

He was appointed a public defender on Tuesday and was ordered held without bond in the Wake County Detention Center.

Investigators haven't offered a motive for the crime.

Zacherl's mother had no comment Tuesday afternoon, and those who know him said they are surprised by the murder charge.

Tongate, his sister, Allison Tongate, said, was a fun-loving man who studied intercultural communications and was a volunteer with refugees and also at a suicide prevention hotline.

"He was just very caring and gentle and very generous," she said. "He loved his family, especially his nieces and nephews. He just touched so many people's hearts and lives."

Family members of Tongate, who is from New Mexico, said they were aware of his relationship with Zacherl but that they had never met him and that they are still in the process of learning about him and what happened.

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Zacherl was convicted in May on charges of obtaining property by false pretense and larceny and spent seven months in prison before being paroled in November 2012.

He also has felony convictions of drug charges and misdemeanor convictions on charges of assault and communicating threats.


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  • Lightfoot3 Jan 15, 2014

    I've seen a case where someone stabbed themselves and a family member was charged with murder. The forensic evidence by the defense team finally got the DA to drop the charges, but if not for that good defense team, the dude would have been sent up the river. I hope the truth, no matter what it is, reigns in this case.

  • lissaandbrad Jan 14, 2014

    REALLY. I agree. That's your comment. Yes, his boyfriend. This is so sad, so tragic. My heart breaks for all involved.

  • Vote for Pedro Jan 14, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Dude, it's 2014.

  • jdomark Jan 14, 2014

    seriously, V Vet? is that really the issue here? that he's gay?