By Yenah Lee
WOODLAND, CA – Judge Samuel McAdam Friday confirmed Justin Gonzalez’s jury retrial for murder will begin Tuesday, Oct. 2 in Yolo County Superior Court.
Justin Gonzalez was found guilty and convicted of second-degree murder of stabbing Ronald Antonio in 2017. Alexis Velazquez, who was also charged for his affiliation with the incident, was found guilty of first-degree murder.
Gonzalez initially received a 70-year sentence with no opportunity for parole, but the sentence was overturned in 2022 by the Third Appellate District Court after Senate Bills 1437 and 775 were passed, which allow the elimination of the natural and probable consequences doctrine, applicable to Gonzalez’s case.
The appellate court ruling did not relate to the failure to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence necessarily, but rather an error in instructing the jury on natural and probable consequences.
“We conclude the error in instructing the jury on the natural and probable consequences doctrine is not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt and the verdict against Gonzalez must be reversed,” the Court’s opinion said.
Gonzalez, 56, said the Yolo County district attorney coerced witnesses into victims and co-defendants into witnesses to get a murder conviction.
Throughout his entire trial and since 2017, Gonzalez has maintained his innocence.