Guilty Plea Brings Life Without Parole
Fort Bend County, Richmond, Texas
   
 
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Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office

Press Release

 

Valentine Gonzalez, Jr. was convicted and sentenced December 11, 2017 for the murder of a 32-year-old woman in 2016.  The defendant plead guilty to Capital Murder and received a sentence of life without parole rather than risk facing the possibility of the death penalty at trial.  The 52-year-old Rosenberg man had fled the country but confessed to the killing when he was apprehended earlier this year.

 

According to Assistant District Attorney Lorretta Owen, the defendant performed yard service for the victim on September 3, 2016 for the first time.  At some point that evening, the defendant attempted to sexually assault the woman in her home.  During the attack, he struck her and strangled her with his hands before cutting her throat with a knife.  In an effort to destroy the evidence of his crime, the defendant then set the victim’s home on fire.  Gonzalez was identified as a suspect that night, but without the evidence to arrest him at that time, he was released by police.  The defendant fled to Mexico where he was eventually apprehended in March 2017.  Upon his arrest, the defendant confessed to killing the victim. 

 

Gonzalez was eligible to receive the death penalty.  The state offered a life sentence without parole in lieu of trial, which would have required the mother of the victim to testify.  Experiencing severe trauma over the loss of their only child, the parents of victim approved the plea agreement.  A close family friend read the family’s victim impact statement at the sentencing, but the victim’s parents did not attend. 

 

“There’s never an easy answer or comfortable resolution to these cases.  And there’s not supposed to be,” said prosecutor Lorretta Owen.  “Balancing the victims’ need for closure and healing, the defendant’s deserved punishment, and the State’s duty to protect the community; justice was done here.”

 

Gonzalez was prosecuted in the 268th District Court before Presiding Judge Brady Elliott.  Attorney Rodney O’Neil Williams represented the defendant.

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