COURT WATCH: Witness in Gonzalez Jury Trial Admits ‘Not Sharing Entire Truth’ in Prior Hearing and When She Told Officers She Was ‘Black Out Drunk’

By Audrey Sawyer

WOODLAND, CA — Justin Gonzalez was found by a jury to be guilty of second degree murder with Alexis Velazquez in 2018, but the murder conviction was recently overturned five years after both were convicted of murder.

The murder conviction for Gonzalez was overturned, severed with Velazquez, and is now being retried by prosecutors.

As reported by the Vanguard previously, the witness speaking in Monday’s new trial (Ruby Aradoz) had originally been a defendant in this case herself.

And, according to the Davis Enterprise, she had “initially avoided arrest but was indicted by a Yolo County grand jury after testifying before the panel in October 2016.” The article alleges Aradoz made a plea deal five days into the trial by agreeing to testify for the prosecution after pleading “no contest” to being an accessory to the felony, and that her case is “ultimately dismissed” if her testimony is evaluated to be truthful.

But, Monday, Aradoz admitted that in earlier testimony she was “not being fully truthful, I wasn’t telling them everything” about previous encounters under oath/with police.

Aradoz claimed she was scared and had been currently receiving threats after testifying, such as people asking her family where she has moved to, and said she has moved herself and her family away as a result.

Aradoz testified at trial Monday, suggesting she decided to be more forthcoming with information as it was “not only the right thing to do, but the right thing for me to do at the time.”

According to Aradoz, she had been drinking at a park with two friends before arriving at a trailer park. While the two friends went over to someone’s house who Aradoz was not personally on good terms with, Aradoz had stayed behind, and notes there was a man with whom she had an altercation, that he was on a bike before assaulting her.

Aradoz said she does not remember what had happened prior to the altercation and did not remember having a conversation, but that her arm was cut. Aradoz told the court that she had no weapons on her at that time.

Aradoz then proceeded to ask some men who were nearby if they knew who had cut her, and one gave her a shirt to wrap her arm.

A video clip then was played in court Monday with two men and a woman. While Aradoz originally argued the woman in the clip was not her, she ended up backtracking by saying that the woman does resemble her.

Deputy Public Defender Ron Johnson referenced an agreement between Aradoz and the district attorney’s office. While Aradoz said no, she also notes the original trial happened so many years ago, so it is difficult to remember.

Aradoz went into detail about the codefendant Velazquez. The man was seen by Aradoz as running down first (alone) before Gonzalez had allegedly joined “seconds later.”

According to her, Velazquez had called Aradoz by her middle name, but Aradoz said she never knew Gonzalez before that night, not by his name or by any identification. Regarding Velazquez, she said that she had met him once prior to the incident.

One of Aradoz’s friends began to call for her, and Aradoz left, but saw two guys get into an altercation. She then continued by claiming that she saw them “jumping around” the victim, so she figured that they were jumping the victim.

Aradoz said she saw Velazquez with a knife at this point as she was walking away, but that Gonzalez had come up to her at some point, yelling, calling her a “bitch.” Aradoz claimed that Gonzalez had a kitchen knife with him and that she and her friend had left afterwards.

Aradoz did not know where the third friend went off to, but that they had all reunited before driving to a hospital in Sacramento so Aradoz could get stitches for the cut on her arm.

Aradoz again admits that when she initially talked to the officer, she didn’t “give the entire story” because she was afraid.

DPD Ron Johnson pointed out that Aradoz said she did not know Gonzalez prior to this case, so that other than what she saw that day, she does not have any knowledge of him, but alleged Gonzalez was affiliated with a gang.

DPD Ron Johnson inquired if during the second police interview Aradoz told police that she “did not know what Gonzalez’s involvement was.” Aradoz agreed, saying that she believed so.

Aradoz admitted she previously told the grand jury that she was so intoxicated that she could not remember that night, and that she had told the grand jury that when she saw police and was shown a video, she was shocked at the events of the video.

Aradoz previously testified at a grand jury that Velazquez was the one running, which DPD Ron Johnson pointed out that if Aradoz was fearful of gang response, wouldn’t this irritate Velazquez? Aradoz agreed that she was aware she was showing “contradictory behavior.”

At the same proceeding, when Aradoz was asked about Gonzalez, she claimed that she could not remember. It is noted that in a previous interview with police she said that she did not remember Gonzalez being involved or being there when the stabbing happened, and that she had told officers that she was “black out drunk” that night and used to drink often.

However, Aradoz did claim she remembered Gonzalez going up to her to cuss her out. In 2016, while Aradoz told officers she wanted to cooperate, she told them that she “did not remember” Gonzalez being present.

Throughout the trial Monday, when Aradoz was asked if it would refresh her recollection to hear recordings about statements, she gave a firm “no” and argued that it would not make a difference, as she has already admitted that she withheld information at the time.

Aradoz was adamant that while she was not “100 percent truthful” during the grand jury, she is now telling the truth and being “grilled” because of it.

The jury trial reconvenes Tuesday.

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.

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