Did Island Cops Give Gonzalez Special Liberties?
And while the arrest is straightforward enough and comes just days
after the body was found - the San Pedro community is irate - both at
the murder, and at what they feel is police special treatment for this
Last night, a Facebook furor erupted on the island when residents
claimed that police had allowed murder suspect David Gonzalez to go
home, shower, and even pack a night bag for his trip to Hattieville.
Today, the Commissioner said the community had it all wrong:
Chester Williams - Commissioner of Police
"I saw where the public got a bit outrageous last night when there was some
picture circulating with the accused husband on a golf cart going home and
I myself when I saw it initially, I was upset because with the way this
entire ordeal went down and the fact that the husband seems to have no
remorse and is noncooperative with the investigation, he should not be
afforded any kind of privilege and so I quickly got in the phone and I
spoke to Mr. Noble and inquired from him why was it that the individual was
seen on a golf cart and he had said to me that they took him home because
there is surveillance camera at the house but when the police went to
retrieve the video footage, there was no DVR. So, the officers took him
back to his home last night to search because we have received information
that indeed, it had been hidden somewhere in the yard or some nearby yard.
So, he was taken there for the purpose of conducting that search. So if
that is the case, I have to accept Mr. Noble word for it, I don't think he
needs to lie to me about that, then I have no issue with it because we need
to find the DVR and I want to appeal to the public in San Pedro, if any
knows the whereabouts of this DVR or where the husband may have hidden or
thrown the DVR, please let us know because we believe it has footage that
significantly help out investigation."
"Wasn't it a matter of him getting any special treatment because of his
social status out there?"
"From what I gathered from Mr. Noble, no."
This evening, the PUP's United Women's Group released a statement
calling for justice on behalf of Marisela Gonzalez.
Their press release says, quote,
"The United Women's Group (UWG) strongly condemns this act of
violence which has led to the loss of another special woman,
allegedly at the hands of her spouseâ€¦we expect that her killer will
be charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law"
They are joined by the Human Rights Commission of Belize who is also
calling for justice on behalf of Marisela.
Their statement also adds, quote, "
The Commissioner urges the Government to enhance its efforts to
combat domestic violence by providing the necessary support to
frontline responders to properly implement the Domestic Violence
Act, and related national policies; and supporting the proposal of
the Police Department to change the location and setting of the
Domestic Violence Unit.
" End quote.
They are also hoping that the government amends to Domestic Violence
Act to provide for emergency orders to enable persons to obtain
protection on an urgent basis, through telephone or other electronic
Finally, they want to remove the part of the Domestic Violence Act
"the need to preserve and protect the institution of marriage, and
to give protection and assistance to the family as a natural and
fundamental unit of society".
Accused Murderer David Gonzales is Arraigned for Killing his Wife
The San Pedro man who is accused of murdering his wife was brought to Belize City this morning for arraignment at the Magistrate’s Court. David Gonzales is facing a charge of the killing of Marisela Gonzales. The twenty-eight-year-old mother of one was shot to the head and her body disposed of at a dumpsite on the island where it was found by a worker on Sunday. She was last seen alive with Gonzales the previous day. On Wednesday night, the accused was seen being carted to his house; that move heightened the calls for justice for Marisela, a victim of domestic violence. Here is News Five’s Duane Moody with a report.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Early this morning, accused murderer David Gonzales was brought to Belize City under heavy police guard via water taxi. He was escorted to the Magistrate’s Court where after ten o’clock, he was arraigned before Magistrate Stephanie Gillett for the brutal killing of his wife, Marisela. No plea was taken and Gonzales was remanded to the central prison in Hattieville until December sixteenth when he is to reappear in court.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
“I am not going to speak to the confidence in the charge. I am sure if there weren’t sufficient evidence to charge, then, we would not have levied charge against the husband. But may I say that there is multitude of reports that the husband has been abusive to the deceased wife. And the police investigation unearthed certain things and it was based on that that the police eventually laid charges against him.”
The partially nude body of Marisela Gonzales was discovered on Sunday morning near a dumpsite in San Pedro Town. She was last seen alive in the company of her husband on Saturday, October tenth. Her father, Venancio Guzman says that the couple had been married about two years and shared a daughter, but he only recently learnt of the abuse she suffered.
On the Phone: Venancio Guzman, Father of Deceased [Translated] [File: October 14
“She was a young girl when she went with him. Afterwards, they got married – it’s about two years now since he married my daughter. He asked me for her hand as her husband and I gave them my blessings. I didn’t know the type of person he was. He showed a beautiful, smiling face to us. Eventually, we started to catch up because my two sons worked with him and one of them asked Mari to return with them because her husband was mistreating her. He used to even take out his gun. He didn’t care. The thing is that he treated her so badly and my son asked for her to return to live at his house that he was building. I didn’t know all of those things – until now I am finding out just how abusive her husband was to her. I used to call her every two three days and I used to ask her, ‘daughter, how are you? Are you okay?’ and she would reply, ‘yes, dad, I am ok’ but she was clearly not okay. I think he had threatened. This Sunday that he killed her, I believe she was coming from a beach somewhere in San Pedro. They were together and someone saw how he was mistreating her. She was in the back of the vehicle and he was treating her like an animal. I think he killed her in the night.”
In San Pedro, an impromptu drive on golf carts was organized by local residents, while others in small groups of ten gathered at the Central Park – they demanded justice for the twenty-eight-year-old mother of one. That same night, however, there were concerns from residents when the accused murderer was seen on a golf cart. According to Commissioner Chester Williams, Gonzales’ arrest was not made as a result of public pressure, but evidence that was gathered through police investigation. He explains why Gonzales was removed from the station.
“There was some picture circulating with the accused husband on a golf cart going home. I myself when I saw it initially was upset because with the way how this entire ordeal went down and the fact that the husband seems to have no remorse and is uncooperative with investigation, he should not be afforded any kind of privilege. So I quickly got on the phone and spoke to Mister Noble and inquired from him why the individual was seen on a golf cart and he said to me that they took him home because there is surveillance camera at the house, but when police went to retrieve the footage, there was no DVR. So the officers took him back to his home last night to search the surroundings because we had received information that the DVR may have been hidden somewhere in the yard or some nearby yard. So he was taken there for the purpose of conducting that search.”
Gender based violence has been one of the top four reasons for murders. ComPol Chester Williams says that victims often times find it difficult to come forward and it would appear that this was one such case.
“When it comes to domestic situations, it is extremely difficult and while some of us may sit and condemn a woman who comes forward and makes complaint of her partner, it is more devastating for those women who do not have the courage to come forward because the woman who comes forward at least they get a chance to speak to someone and vent and those who do not come forward suffer in silence and I think the deceased wife was one of those such persons. And, again, I don’t think that any woman or child should suffer the way she did at the hands of a husband who was supposed to be there to love and care for them.”