On Monday, February 1, 2010, capital murder convict Gabriel Gonzales was ordered to serve life in prison for the 1994 murder of a pawnshop owner in Bexar County. Gonzales was originally serving a death sentence for his involvement in the case. In 2006 the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered a new sentencing hearing based on the potentially mitigating circumstance of Gonzales’ childhood sexual abuse, which was not provided to the original jury.
According to special prosecutor Raymond Fuchs, “a plea agreement for a life sentence seemed the best solution” based on the age of the case. Gonzales, through his lawyer, expressed great appreciation to the victim’s family for not going forward with a new death penalty hearing.
Last year, six inmates were removed permanently from death row in Texas; their sentences were changed to life in prison as the result of similar plea agreements. See the TCADP 2009 Annual Report for more details on these cases.
To read the entire San Antonio Express-News (February 1, 2010) article, click here.