A Douglas County judge set bond at $50,000 Thursday for a Mission man accused of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the February death of a 27-year-old Lawrence man.
Justin Paul Gonzalez, 21, is charged in connection with the death of Nicholas J. Sardina, an Iraq War veteran and former student at both Kansas University and Kansas State University, following a fight near 14th and Kentucky streets.
As a condition of Gonzalez’s bond, pro-tem Judge James George ordered Gonzalez not to make contact with any of the dozens of listed witnesses in the case. Assistant Douglas County District Attorney Eve Kemple said that several of the witnesses were Gonzalez’s friends and that he should not be allowed to contact them through email, Facebook or text message.
Defense attorney Sarah Swain did not oppose the bond, but asked that Gonzalez be allowed to contact his cousin, who is one of the listed witnesses in the case, provided they not discuss the case. George denied that request after prosecutors said that Gonzalez’s cousin was a significant witness in the case.
According to police, Sardina died at a residence in the 1500 block of Tennessee Street the afternoon of Feb. 25. Police determined he was involved in a fight hours earlier in the 300 block of West 14th Street. Sardina’s girlfriend, Darcy Singleton, said in February that she received a text message from Sardina at 3:45 a.m. that said he had been involved in a scuffle and had a bottle broken over his head.
Sardina was originally from Clarence, N.Y. He was a sergeant in the Kansas National Guard and had served three tours in Iraq in 2006 and 2007 with the Army’s 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley. Friends said he played on club hockey teams at both K-State and KU. He had last enrolled at KU during fall 2011.
Gonzalez is next scheduled to appear in court at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 28.