By Danielle Eden C. Silva
The three-day preliminary hearing in Department 8 concluded today for Jesse Rafael Gonzales. Mr. Gonzales is charged with a shooting at Yolano and a shooting near Wayside Market in Knights Landing.
The afternoon session in Department 8 continued with the testimony of lead investigator Detective Pablo Gonzales. Detective Gonzales had given testimony on Monday afternoon and continued today about information he gathered from one of the other defendants.
The co-defendant had noted they had gotten drunk that night and taken Xanax in one form, even if he did not remember it. The witness noted that, after the shooting, the three of them had gone to EG’s house and spent the night there.
The detective then moved to talk about his training in gang investigation. He noted he’s read journals and attended around 200 hours POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certified or POST approved investigative gang training; however, he noted the trainings were generalized approaches that could be applied to the Vario Bosque Norte (VBN) gang but did not necessarily specialize in the gang.
The defense asked about EL, a non-documented VBN member. He had been convicted in a case concerning a shooting against two Sureño gang members, with one Sureño member shot and killed. EL apparently had been an older and high ranking member in VBN, providing membership to new members and acting as a channel of information in and out of the prison.
At one point, EL had spoken to the defendant over the phone while Mr. Gonzales was in custody.
Detective Gonzales noted that monitoring calls can be difficult since the recipient can make it a conference call, allowing multiple people onto the call in addition to the recipient and the caller. These types of calls are unacceptable but can be difficult to enforce. In the conversation between EL and Mr. Gonzales, there appeared to be an unknown third party.
Detective Gonzales also went into Jo. G.’s gang affiliation, as he apparently was targeted in the Wayside Market shooting. Jo. G. affiliates with the Sureños and has assaults on his record. The detective was aware of him before this incident occurred.
He also stated the Yolano shooting happened on a one-way, U-shaped street. One side of the street is said to have parking.
Detective Gonzales also talked about TR, the recipient of previous letters from the defendant. TR was noted to be a Norteño member who had been involved in evading officers.
When seeing the defendants, Detective Gonzales stated that the defendant was the tallest of all of them by five or six inches. Additionally, ES, one of the other co-defendants, had told JG to drop out of the gang.
ES also recalled JG being told that people had been hurt by the shooting but the defendant had been unfazed. The detective interpreted it as a means to an end, meaning seeing his actions as increasing his status in the gang.
Detective Gonzales was then excused. With both sides resting, Judge David W. Reed requested to view the black and white surveillance footage that Detective John Ney had testified on previously. After seeing portions provided by Detective Gonzales, who was still present due to being the investigating officer, Judge Reed recognized the forced flashes and two individuals running away. The detective noted that the third individual would run away as well. The defense provided no portion of the video.
The court then turned to the case of the counts against Mr. Gonzales. One charge, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, would require an amendment to the date, as the Yolano shooting and the Wayside Fair shooting happened on different days.
Following this conversation, Judge Reed asked about the extra enhancements of great bodily injury. The prosecution clarified they were in relation to BG. While her medical records show she had been grazed by the bullet wound, the prosecution argued she still had a gunshot and received medical treatment.
Prior to deciding on the counts, the defense offered arguments against the current charges. They argued the defendant could not have committed attempted murders as there was no requisite intent. The video showed bullets hitting the ground and dust being struck up. There was also no certainty the injuries were not caused by a bullet ricocheting. Additionally, the shootings at Yolano and Wayside Market were argued to be a continuous course of conduct, and therefore should only be charged once entirely, not once for each occasion.
The prosecution argued that the attempted murder count was appropriate, considering the defendant and two others walked around, came back, called out for people, and, when people came out, began to shoot at them. There was no indication of self-defense as the defendant chose to come with a gun and shoot without knowing who the people were. Additionally, plenty of time had passed between the shooting at Yolano and the shooting at Wayside Market so the counts are not duplication.
Judge Reed considered the evidence and retained several counts, with the exception of the enhancements relating to the great bodily injury of BG. He referred to the medical records where the injury was described as a “superficial gunshot wound” and “grazed puncture.”
Following these, the defense requested that the defendant receive bail, as he was currently in custody. They argued that he had no prior history and was young. The prosecution protested, stating the defendant was a gang member and was involved in a gang fight in the jail. Judge Reed ruled that no bail will be set as the defendant has an attempted murder charge.
The next court date will be on November 29 in Department 14.