ljj5221 (Lisa Milliren)

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Second trial underway in Justin Gonzalez manslaughter case

I recall reading about the first trial and thinking at the time that it was a terrible abuse of justice to prosecute a student who was merely defending a friend. I felt that if a person walks into a party and starts a fight, that they assume some level of responsibility for the consequences. While no one would assume the consequence would be death; the consequence should be his nonetheless. I am now outraged to read that this person was likely already drunk and high on xanax and cocaine. How can the prosecutors state definitively that it was the knock over the head that killed and not the combination of alcohol and drugs? Moreover, I read in another article related to pretrial motions (dated April 30th) that this person was apparently sentenced the very day of the incident in a prior battery case. Fighting was clearly not an isolated incident, but seemingly a common occurrence. Does this not speak loud and clear about the person's character?
My hope is that the newly seated jury will use common sense and reach the same conclusion that I have; namely, that it was simply defense of a friend. What bothers me the most, though, is that the accused has spent the last two years of his young life with this hanging over his head. That the family has likely had a huge outlay of cash to defend the bogus charges. That prosecutors have seemingly recklessly prosecuted a case where a student defended a friend from a known alcohol and drug abuser who was clearly used to fighting. At any given time, any of us could make a split second decision to do something we think is right, only to find ourselves prosecuted, drug through the justice process for 2+ years, face the uncertainty of a jury deciding our fate, and perhaps spend many more years serving an unjust sentence... that is scary as hell! Shame on you Lawrence prosecutors.

May 31, 2014 at 10:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Judge declares mistrial in 2012 manslaughter case

What a relief that the justice system worked fairly, and that the jury seated used their common sense. Having known Justin and the entire Gonzalez family for a number of years, I never imagined for a second that this young man could have acted with maliciousness or ill will. It was a split second decision that had entirely unforeseen consequences. My thoughts go out to all families involved, and pray that the matter will finally be laid to rest and everyone can find peace.

December 13, 2013 at 9:39 a.m. ( | suggest removal )