Sentence Coming for Fatal Shooting at Street Vibrations
Judge Connie Steinheimer will had down Ernesto Gonzalez's sentence Thursday. Gonzalez is the Vagos motorcycle club member who fatally shot Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew at Street Vibrations in 2011.
Ernesto Gonzalez had requested to be sentenced by the judge, rather than the jury.
"Both mitigating witnesses, if there are some for Mr. Gonzalez, as well as victim impact statements from the family of Mr. Pettigrew by the state, and I will decided the penalty," Steinheimer said.
The defendant waived his right to be present at the proceedings when the request was made.
"I am so honestly impressed with his reaction to this and he's accepted it, doesn't agree with it but he believes in the system and as a consequence, we'll go forward with the appellate process," David Houston, Gonzalez's attorney said.
Gonzalez was found guilty of first-degree murder and 6 other charges stemming from the brawl at John Ascuaga's Nugget leading up to the shooting.
Houston says he believes there were some unanswered questions among the 12 jurors when they found Gonzalez guilty of seven counts, including first- and second-degree murder, and conspiracy to commit murder.
"The jury is convicting a person three times of what amounted to murder and we've got one decedent," Houston said. "So, that might give some clue as to how confusing this jury actually was."
Gonzalez will only be sentenced on one of the murder counts -- along with the other four lesser charges. He could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prosecutors say they are happy with the job the jury did during this trial.
"I thought the outcome was very appropriate for the facts and circumstances of the case," Karl Hall, Chief Deputy District Attorney said. "I thought that the jury sent a clear message that they're not going to tolerate gang warfare."
The conviction comes nearly two years after a brawl between the Vagos and the Hells Angels.
Gonzalez says he was defending another person when he shot Pettigrew.
"There's no way, in my humble opinion that there was sufficient proof to dispel reasonable doubt and that doesn't mean I don't respect the jury, I do," Houston said. "I just don't have an understanding of how this could've occurred."
The state says the murder was part of a conspiracy stemming from a rivalry between the motorcycle clubs.
"I thought that the Vagos witnesses that we called, several of them were uncooperative and I think they had a clear bias but I think the jury saw through that," Hall said.
Thursday, December 5 2013 3:34 PM EST2013-12-05 20:34:18 GMT
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