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Gonzalez trial began today with defendant not present

KINGMAN – Trial opened Thursday, Oct. 17, in Kingman for a Lake Havasu City man charged with attempted second degree murder of SWAT team officers who executed a search warrant at his home in the 1600 block of South Palo Verde Boulevard. Officers were uninjured, but the defendant, Charles Gonzalez, 24, was shot at least three times when officers fired more than 20 rounds during the October, 2016 encounter

Prosecutor Jaimye Ashley told the Mohave County Superior Court jury that officers loudly announced their presence and directed Gonzalez to comply with commands to drop his weapon as they entered his bedroom.

Defense attorney Gerald Gavin countered that police did not knock or announce themselves, and he asserted that Gonzalez thought they were “bad guys” rather than law enforcement authorities. Gavin said Gonzalez was shot in the chest and both arms and that he should not be charged when he was the one who was critically injured.

“There’s zero evidence of an attempted murder,” Gavin said.

Ashley noted a series of text communications between Gonzalez and a confidential informant involving mostly cocaine and marijuana, and a prescription pill on one occasion. She urged the jury to convict Gonzalez of 14 drug-related charges and a forgery count.

Ashley said more than $30,000 in cash was found in Gonzalez’ residence.

Gavin told jurors that Ashley had “stitched together a quilt” of a case through use of social media. He noted the informant was working off charges for law enforcement and lacked credibility.

Gavin said his client is likely guilty of some charges, but certainly not all of them. And he told the jury that they should not consider the merits of the case without reflecting on Gonzalez’ absence.

“I wish he was here to help me,” Gavin said of Gonzalez. “I don’t know why he’s not here. I assume it’s because of fear.”

The trial before Judge Billy Sipe is expected to extend well into next week.

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