Jose Gonzalez, Gang Member Who Helped Kill Man in La Habra Street, Seeks Parole Today

Jose Gonzalez and his fellow gang members beat Richard Holguin the night of Feb. 16. 1996. As Holguin lay on a La Habra street, the 47-year-old was repeatedly hit and kicked before being dragged to a corner where he was left to moan, unable to move. The gang members drove off but returned a few minutes later to find Holguin still down in the street. That's when one gangster got out of the vehicle, walked over to the suffering man and shot him several times.

For Gonzalez's role in the murder of Holguin, he'd like to be paroled today. Not so fast, counter prosecutors.

July 6, 2011


SANTA ANA - Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas is opposing the parole of a gang member for his role in the beating and shooting-murder of a 47-year-old man. Jose Gonzalez, 32, is currently being held at Centinela State Prison in Imperial, CA. Gonzalez was sentenced Oct. 17, 1997, to 19 years to life in state prison for one felony count of second degree murder and one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon. He is scheduled for a parole hearing tomorrow, July 7, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations. Orange County Deputy District Attorney Susan Eckermann will appear to oppose the parole of Gonzalez.

Facts of the Crime
On Feb. 16, 1996, Gonzalez, then-17 years old, and several fellow gang members were consuming alcohol at a house on East Grace Street in La Habra. Victim Robert Holguin, 47, knew the defendant from the neighborhood and joined them for drinks. The victim, who was not a gang member, became severely intoxicated. During the gathering inside the home, Holguin was punched in the face by one of the gang members after remarking that a female relative was dating a member of a rival gang.

Later that night, Gonzalez was outside of the home with his fellow gang members and Holguin. The inmate and his co-defendants began assaulting the victim by repeatedly hitting him and kicking him as he lay on the ground. The gang members then dragged the victim to the corner and left him on the street moaning and unable to move.

Gonzalez and his fellow gang members got into a vehicle and drove away. A few minutes later they returned to where they had left the victim, who was still lying on the ground. The inmate and his co-defendants got out of their vehicle, surrounded the suffering victim, and then one of the gang members shot Holguin multiple times with a firearm. The defendants fled the scene.

During the murder investigation, an examination of the body revealed that the victim had 29 entry or exit wounds and the asphalt around the body was riddled with pock marks and shell casings. Gonzalez and his codefendants were later arrested by the La Habra Police Department. Gonzalez was convicted June 18, 1997, and was sentenced Oct. 17, 1997.

Lack of Rehabilitation and Unreasonable Risk of Danger
The People explain in a 2011 parole opposition letter that "the commitment offense is calculated, callous, and excessively violent as well as completely unjustified." The letter continues that "a person with this kind of mob mentality violence.prior arrests, violations of probation, absconding from probation, criminal associates, and institutional violence and misconduct is not someone we should send out into society and expect to live a peaceful life." 

Gonzalez poses an unreasonable risk of danger if he is allowed to re-join society and his prison record shows no sign that he has been rehabilitated. He continues to exhibit violent behavior and he has been cited for major prison rule violations while incarcerated including assaulting an inmate and possessing a razorblade. He fails to take responsibility and denies his involvement in the crime. Gonzalez also continues to acknowledge and maintain relationships with criminal street gang members. His lack of remorse, continued association with criminal street gang members, and failure to take responsibility demonstrates that he poses a continued danger if released into the community.


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