Just Another Guy with Opinions

Texas Style Justice

Posted by shadmia on September 29, 2008

Jose Luis Gonzalez, 63, was found not guilty of the murder of unarmed 13-year-old Francisco Anguiano, who he shot in the back. The week-long trial took place in the Texas border town of Laredo. It took the jury of 8 men and 4 women, just three hours to determine Gonzalez’ innocence. In fact many people in town thought that he should not even have been arrested let alone put on trial.

“I thank God and my attorney, the jury and the judge,” Gonzalez said in Spanish after the verdict. “It was a case where it was my life or theirs, and it’s a very good thing that (the jurors) decided in my favor.”

It all began in July 2007 when four young boys, ranging in age from 11 to 14, broke into Gonzalez’ mobile home looking for snacks. Gonzalez, who had endured several previous break-ins at his trailer, was in a nearby building, came over and confronted the boys with a 16-gauge shotgun.

He then forced the boys, who were unarmed, to their knees. The boys say they were begging for forgiveness when Gonzalez hit them with the barrel of the shotgun and kicked them repeatedly. It was at this point that Francisco Anguiano was shot in the back at close range.

Gonzalez said he had the juveniles on the ground and was trying to keep them at bay with a shotgun when Anguiano made a sudden movement toward his feet. Gonzalez perceived the teen to be lunging for him and he fired the weapon into Anguiano’s back, claiming he feared for his life.

According to one of the boys, Jesus Soto Jr., now 16, Gonzalez then ordered them at gunpoint to take Anguiano’s body outside. Found on Francisco’s body were two mashed Twinkies and some cookies that were stuffed into the pockets of his shorts.

Gonzalez said he was sorry for Anguiano’s death, but “it was a situation in which I feared for my life.”

Texas law allows homeowners to use deadly force to protect themselves and their property.

“I feel vindicated for Mr. Gonzalez and his family and for all of the homeowners and all of the seniors in Laredo,” said Isidro “Chilo” Alaniz, Gonzalez’s attorney. “This case has huge implications across the board. We always, always believed in Mr. Gonzalez’s right to defend his life and his property.”

However, Assistant District Attorney Uriel Druker maintained during his closing arguments that the case was not about homeowners’ right to protect their property, but about when a person is justified in using deadly force to do so.

“What really took place here was a case of vigilantism,” he said after the verdict. “A 13-year-old boy was killed because a man was enraged.”

“This case was never about homeowners versus criminals. The evidence in this case was compelling enough to show that wasn’t the case at all,” he said. “I think the message that was revealed is that it’s OK for a person to take the law into their own hands.”

Francisco Anguiano’s aunt, who asked not to be named, said in Saturday’s editions of the Laredo Morning Times that she was disappointed with the verdict.

“The state fought the case the way it should have,” she said. “There was a sufficient amount of evidence, and I thought that some of the jurors would be a father or a mother, and perhaps they would think about this happening to them.”

In Texas, the state that made frontier justice famous, the right to use deadly force to protect your life and property is sacred. When Gonzalez entered the trailer, he had no idea who was inside and if the intruders were armed.

“These kids were inside his house,” said food distributor Francisco Hernandez, noting a homeowner wouldn’t know “if they’re there to steal potato chips or to stab you. He really shouldn’t be on trial.”

Many people in Laredo defended Gonzalez’s actions. In online responses to articles published by the Morning Times, comments included statements such as: “The kid got what he deserved“ and calls to “stop the unfair prosecution.“

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2 Responses to “Texas Style Justice”

  1. I hadn’t heard of this case before

  2. Awesome, I would of killed them all.

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