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FBI agent to go on trial in slaying

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Arthur Gonzales

Arthur Gonzales

Jury selection for a five-day trial of an FBI agent charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of his estranged wife at his Stafford County home is scheduled to begin Tuesday, weather permitting.

Arthur “Art” Bernard Gonzales, 43, is also charged with use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the April 19 slaying of Julie Serna Gonzales, 42.

A special grand jury issued the two indictments against Gonzales last May following an investigation by the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.

The case is scheduled to l be heard in Stafford Circuit Court, but defense attorney Mark Gardner filed a motion for a change of venue late Friday afternoon. No ruling has been made on that motion yet.

Stafford Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy said detectives have been working on the case, which started April 19 after a confusing 911 call that erroneously went to authorities in Las Cruces, N.M. That’s where the Gonzales family lived before moving to North Stafford.

During the recorded 911 call, Gonzales, who identified himself as an FBI agent, told the dispatcher to send an ambulance and deputies to his home on Alderwood Drive because his wife had attacked him with a knife and he had shot her. But the dispatcher had problems finding the address he gave her.

It appeared to Las Cruces dispatchers that Gonzales was calling from a home there. But after seven deputies, firefighters and medical personnel arrived at the Gonzales’ former residence, they learned that the actual emergency was nearly 2,000 miles away in Virginia, said Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kelly Jameson.

The mix-up occurred after Gonzales moved and continued using his Voice-over Internet Protocol routers, which allow users to connect landline phones through an Internet service provider. The service provider didn’t realize he had moved and routed his emergency call to New Mexico dispatchers.

While still on his home phone with the New Mexico dispatcher, Gonzales used his cellphone to call 911 again.

“My wife just attacked me with a knife and I had to shoot her,” he was recorded telling the Virginia 911 dispatcher. “She cut me on the arm.”

The New Mexico dispatcher was still on the line, unaware that he was talking on his cellphone.

Gonzales was also heard vomiting several times during the call while a Virginia dispatcher gave him instructions on how to do CPR.

Stafford deputies responded to Gonzales’ home in the Preserve on Aquia Creek near Ruby around 2:42 p.m. April 19, Kennedy said.

They found the victim suffering from gunshot wounds, he said. She was transported to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The couple, who have two young sons, ages 10 and 12, had been married for nearly 18 years, but Arthur Gonzales filed for divorce in June 2012.

He worked as a supervisory special agent–instructor at the bureau’s National Academy at Quantico. His current status with the FBI is not immediately available.

He is free on bond and is caring for the children.

Members of the Serna family traveled to Virginia from New Mexico over the weekend to attend the trial.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419

psmith@fredericksburg.com

 

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