New KetMoRee Murder Witness Emerges with a Different Story

Share:

KetMo

By Antoinette Borbon and David Greenwald

In a secret grand jury hearing recently announced by Judge Dave Rosenberg, an indictment was handed down on all six suspects arrested in connection with the slaying death of a Hacienda Heights man, Peter Gonzales, who was 23.

Mr. Gonzales reportedly died in the early morning hours of September 19, 2015, after sustaining a fatal stab wound to the abdomen. He was pronounced dead at UCD Medical Center, according to police accounts.

Carlos Biviescas, Martyn Alex Contreras, Anthony Daniel Rivera, Zackary Thomas Sandeno, Victor Manuel Vergara and Joseph Gregory Sandeno were arrested in the days, weeks, and in some cases months, following the incident.

They were initially charged with first degree murder and gang-related enhancements. After several continuances for the proposed 15-day preliminary hearing, a secret Grand Jury was convened and heard testimony from 19 different witnesses. The Grand Jury indicted all six suspects.

Among the 19 witnesses were citizens within the Davis community. But authorities reportedly gave little attention to a witness who may have a very different account of what occurred that night.

The witness, whose identity the Vanguard is withholding for now, gave a chilling account of that night in September 2015.

It was a bloody scene, a man drenched in blood from “head to toe,” he explained, “running past me as he fled the nightclub.”

He described seeing an intertwined group, seven to eight people involved in an altercation. Bouncers quickly worked to break up the fight but, by that time, the lifeless body of Peter Gonzales lay on the floor.

“Girls were screaming and people were running for the door, it was crazy,” the witness recalled.

Two of the suspects were kicking and hitting Gonzales, even though he was not moving, according to the witness.

Moments later, the witness saw three male suspects flee the scene, one drenched in blood.

Still fresh in his memory is the blood-soaked clothing on a man he described to be that of Joseph Sandeno. Blood appeared only on the front of Sandeno’s clothing, “but so, so much of blood,” the witness asserted.

According to the witness, one of the Sandeno brothers was being protected by his friends. It appeared to him that Sandeno must have been the one on the bottom because of the drenched bloody clothing.

He believes that Sandeno was the one who stabbed Mr. Gonzales.

Video surveillance showed two men walking up to the door of the nightclub, veering inside while the incident was happening and immediately fleeing.

The witness told police he did not know the two men who veering inside and stated that “they ran a different direction than the other three suspects but I could not see much after that, the scene was crazy.”

The witness told the Vanguard that the officer he spoke with asked few questions and seemed more interested in the two men that he saw flee, who had nothing to do with the fight.  District attorney investigators apparently declined to use his statements and did not follow up.

All six defendants are allegedly known to be involved with the Norteños, a criminal street gang.  After serving search warrants on residences in Vacaville and West Sacramento, guns, drugs and cash were confiscated.

The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office filed a two-part amended complaint emphasizing the crime to be of criminal street gang nature, and they have upheld their decision to prosecute the case as gang-related criminal activity.

Defense attorneys were stunned last week when Judge Rosenberg announced that, instead of the planned 15-day preliminary hearing, their clients were indicted over the previous weekend in a surprise grand jury proceeding.

As indicated above, the six men indicted are: Martyn Alex Contreras, age 25; Joseph Gregory Sandeno, age 20; Zackary Thomas Sandeno, age 22; Victor Manuel Vergara, age 22; Carlos Biviescas, age 24; and Anthony Daniel Rivera, now age 26.

The DA’s office press release indicates, “All six men who were indicted are believed to have resided in Solano County at the time of the killing. It is alleged that all six men were affiliated with a Norteno criminal street gang at the time of the crime. The victim, who was visiting the City of Davis to participate in a family wedding, died after being stabbed in the attack.”

According to the indictment, 22-year-old Victor Vergara appears to have been the actual one to stab Mr. Gonzales.  The DA’s office adds a special circumstance allegation, indicating their accusation that he intentionally killed Mr. Gonzales as an active participant in a criminal street gang.  He is also charged with enhancements of premeditation and deliberation and personal use of a deadly weapon.

The others were indicted for murder, assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and participation in criminal street gang activity.

According to reports, the victim, Mr. Gonzales, had been in Davis with his family to attend his sister’s wedding on that Sunday, September 20. The wedding party ended up at KetMoRee on Friday night. Mr. Gonzales was coming to the aid of his two brothers who had been assaulted in the bar. He was then fatally stabbed.

The murder has shocked the sense of many in the community, who are questioning current policies that have allowed restaurants like KetMoRee to convert to after-hours nightclubs. KetMoRee has been a popular late night location with college-aged crowd, but often has been the source of trouble in the form of fights and drunkenness.

Share:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

30 thoughts on “New KetMoRee Murder Witness Emerges with a Different Story”

  1. SODA

    Sorry, but what is ‘different story’ here? What is the ‘veering’ men have to do with it if they entered while it was happening? Or was the different story that this witness thinks the person who did the stabbing was a different suspect from whom is being accused?

    1. hpierce

      David/Antoinette can’t say… they are “protecting their source”… we MUST accept there is a ‘different story’… leap of faith time… reminds me of an old cartoon scene, where the character says (actually sings), “I know a secret, but I won’t tell, I won’t tell, I won’t tell…”

      Nice place to be… no matter how the case unfolds, the VG can say, “we’re aware of information that differs from the public account”…

      I’m going to guess here…

      Mr. Gonzales reportedly died in the early morning hours of September 19, 2015,

      Going to guess that Mr Gonzales is alive, or actually died the day before or the day after… or, just later in the day…

      man drenched in blood from “head to toe,” he explained, “running past me as he fled the nightclub.

      Am guessing that was Mr Gonzales, given the previous quote.

      We will be following this case closely, as obviously, the DA and Grand Jury has this all wrong…

      Thank you VG for giving us a preview of this miscarriage of ‘justice’…  I’m sure after the legal process has played itself out, you and/or the witness will demonstrate that the legal process was bogus, as we all should know, will certainly be the case.

       

  2. South of Davis

    Antoinette and David wrote:

    > But authorities reportedly gave little attention to a witness who may

    > a very different account of what occurred that night.

    What is “different” about this account?

    It seems like the same story I read the week after it happened (that a Solano County gang banger stabbed a guy in town for a wedding and escaped with his gang banger friends)…

  3. Tia Will

    SODA

    Or was the different story that this witness thinks the person who did the stabbing was a different suspect from whom is being accused?”

    That was how I read it.

     

      1. The Pugilist

        “Huh?  I get the different killer part, but not the other two…”

        Self-defense is potentially a reach.  But reading that Sandeno was on the bottom, protected by friends, suggests that as a potential defense.

        The other is here: “The witness told the Vanguard that the officer he spoke with asked few questions and seemed more interested in the two men that he saw flee, who had nothing to do with the fight.  District attorney investigators apparently declined to use his statements and did not follow up.”  If the prosecution knew of this witness, failed to follow up, and failed to disclose them to the defense, then that’s a Brady Violation.  A lot of assumptions by me, but I did say “possibly”

        1. Frankly

          Sure – anyone that gets in a fight and stabs and kills their opponent and then flees and goes on the lamb for several weeks should be exonerated with the self-defense justification.

        2. The Pugilist

          Didn’t say that.  But do you understand that there are degrees of culpability under the law that could mean a huge difference in time served in prison?

    1. hpierce

      Considering 6 were indicted, does that mean none were involved?  That there is a “grassy knoll” miscreant out there?  Given the publicly released narrative, looks like all “did the stabbing” regardless of whose hand the knife was in… or, there are 5-6 folk wrongfully charged with anything?

      1. The Pugilist

        The person who appears to be the alleged killer is charged with more serious offenses, if they have the person wrong, then that’s a factor.

        1. The Pugilist

          I’m not the Vanguard.  But the law says it’s a game crime if it was done for the benefit of a criminal street gang, kind of hard to sustain when your gang is 25 miles away and it was a barfight, but I’m sure you’re not interested in arguing points of law.

        2. The Pugilist

          The law doesn’t say they must fight as a gang, it actually a little more flexible, but the exact language, “felony committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang, with the specific intent to promote, further, or assist in any criminal conduct by gang member…”  So were they acting with the intent to promote the criminal street gang?  That seems an open question.

  4. nameless

    Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, as the Vanguard itself has noted.  The “mystery” witness in this case does not necessarily claim he knows who killed the victim, just gives impressions of what he thinks he saw.

    1. The Pugilist

      I think the question will be how clear the video is.  Eyewitness testimony is what it is, the bigger problem is identification and there’s no clear reason to believe they got this identification correct, but at least its something to look into further.

      1. hpierce

        Yes eye-witness testimony “is what it is” and horribly unreliable… Mr Gonzales never died… he actually wasn’t even present… none of the eyewitness testimony should be relied upon… not those present, not the emergency services folk, not the Coroner… they all are eye-witnesses…

        1. nameless

          To hpierce: Not sure what you are getting at.  This particular witness just gave impressions of what he saw, all of it happening fast and very fleeting.  Should we rely on only his eye-witness testimony, even though we know eye-witness testimony to be very unreliable (and I am not talking about the Coroner, emergency folks, as they were not there when the murder happened)?  This eyewitness is only one of many in the club that night, so all the eyewitness testimony has to be taken into account in its totality and almost invariably will contradict each other in various aspects.  This particular eyewitness doesn’t even claim to have seen who murdered the victim.

  5. Biddlin

    “After serving search warrants on residences in Vacaville and West Sacramento, guns, drugs and cash were confiscated.

    Well, the cops are satisfied.

  6. Tia Will

    Biddlin

    Well, the cops are satisfied.”

    Yes, and the cop was satisfied with her evidence against the alleged molester of a 12 year old who was just recently found not guilty with out ever having invested his side of the story because she was too busy with other cases.

    I am speculating nothing about this case, just merely pointing out that police and prosecutors are fallible human beings just like the rest of us.

    1. Biddlin

      Have you not read my many posts on the subject of uninquisitive,  lazy cops and their inaccurate reports? I was merely pointing out that the cops are in it for the money, guns and drugs, plus the federal bonuses for catching gang members. The cops now have drugs to entice more people to commit a crime (and use those people as pawns), a couple of throw down guns and all of the money. That was their plan all along.  In Yolo county, cops and prosecutors go way past fallibility, well into the highly questionable range.

      1. Tia Will

        Biddlin

        Have you not read my many posts on the subject of uninquisitive,  lazy cops and their inaccurate reports? “

        I have indeed read your posts and so am familiar with your viewpoint. It would appear that the double edged nature of my comment was not clear. I do not see the police as inherently any more or less lazy, pure intentioned, honest, or hardworking or corrupt than anyone else. I see them as human beings, most of whom are doing their best, all of whom are capable of error, just like the rest of us.

        1. Biddlin

          “…just like the rest of us.”

          Key riced in the cream corn, they don’t hire doctors at Kaiser who have an iq above 110?

          http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-court-ruled-you-can-be-too-smart-to-be-a-cop/5420630

          Most department use the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test to presort recruits. The standard range of scores applied for police officers is a score between 20 and 27. According to ABC News, The average score nationally for police officers is 21 to 22, the equivalent of an IQ of 104, or just a little above average. A perfect score on the Wonderlic is a 50.

          http://abcnews.go.com/US/court-oks-barring-high-iqs-cops/story?id=95836

          Someone as open minded as you should read the research on “The Police Personality” and read some of the cop blogs, too. I think you’ll be pretty shocked at what they think of “civilians.”

  7. Antoinnette

    I agree with Puglist, but now concerned this viable witness will flee and not have a chance to testify.  He was interviewed the Monday right after the tragedy and able to clearly identify photos of suspects. To date, his story has not changed just a now reluctant attitude of getting involved.

    My feelings about his testimony could swing either way for both prosecution and/or defense’s case on some issues with possible exculpatory evidence for at least two of the six defendants.

    I don’t believe any of the six came to Davis that night to do anything to further or promote, benefit a street gang even if the law states it can be charged as that. IMHO…

    But won’t know all the details until trial. Even then, we won’t know everything.

    Personally, I’d leave no stone unturned…

     

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for