Published on February 28th, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman0
Defendant in fatal stabbing claims self-defense
Adrian Gonzales is arguing in state District Court that he killed Victoriano “Mo” Moises Byrne-Gonzales in self-defense.
Gonzales is accused of assaulting his then girlfriend, fatally stabbing Byrne-Gonzales in the throat, and injuring Santiago Cordova, a friend of Byrne-Gonzales’, by stabbing him in the back as he also tried to help the woman.
Gonzales’ public defender, Megan Dorsey, argued in her opening statement to the jury that Gonzales “is an innocent man,” and that he only acted in self-defense that night.
Byrne-Gonzales was at the mobile home park that day to get help from his brother-in-law, Chris Chavez, in fixing his car window and to pick up his 2-year-old nephew.
Chavez said in court that he, Byrne-Gonzales and Cordova could see Gonzales and a woman physically fighting just down the road.
Chavez testified that he could hear the woman, later identified as Natasha Romero, yelling, “You’re hurting me,” as Byrne-Gonzales and Cordova ran to her aid.
Chavez said he took his kids inside his house, and by the time he made it back to his own door, Cordova appeared saying that Byrne-Gonzales had been stabbed. “The look in his face, I could never forget it,” Chavez testified.
Byrne-Gonzales was 21 years old and had just been promoted to a new position as assistant director at the Playschool of the Arts, 2076 Galisteo St., where he taught art to young children. His fiancée was due to give birth to his son, Zayden, the next week.
Adrian Gonzales, 31, of Dixon, was arrested hours later on southbound Interstate 25 and charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and battery on a household member.
Dorsey told the court the day had been “complicated” for Gonzales: He had witnessed the burglary of Romero’s mother’s house in the Butterfly Mobile Home Park and had stopped two men from stealing a TV from the residence.
Later, after being told to leave Romero’s house, Gonzales remained outside because, Dorsey said, he was concerned about his girlfriend’s well-being. Romero had been drinking that day, and when Gonzales threatened to end the 2-month-old relationship because she couldn’t “stay sober,” Dorsey said, Romero had threatened to kill herself.
Dorsey said Gonzales had been trying to change his life since a 2007 drug-trafficking conviction. But when Romero walked out of her house at about 7:40 p.m., Gonzales chased her into the road, where Byrne-Gonzales and the others could see them.
According to Dorsey, Gonzales only grabbed Romero because a red truck was driving down the road and might have hit her.
The state argued, however, that Gonzales had grabbed her and bit her ear.
The truck that passed reportedly called 911 to report the incident, but did not stop.
By the time Byrne-Gonzales arrived, Romero had run back to her mother’s house. That’s when Dorsey said Gonzales “did the only thing that he could do in that moment” – he grabbed his 3-inch folding knife and made one “defensive jab” at Byrne-Gonzales’ neck.
Dorsey argued that Gonzales thought Byrne-Gonzales and Cordova could have been the burglars he had seen earlier that day.
Assistant District Attorney Susan Stinson admitted Byrne-Gonzales was ready to fight after repeatedly yelling out for Gonzales to stop beating the woman, but he wasn’t carrying any weapon. Byrne-Gonzales was pronounced dead hours later.
Source: Santa Fe New Mexican “Defendant in fatal stabbing claims self-defense,” February 26, 2013.