Mistrial declared in FBI agent’s murder trial in Stafford County
Almost immediately after a jury was unable to make a decision in the Arthur Gonzales murder case, Stafford’s lead prosecutor said he would put the FBI special agent on trial again.
Gonzales, 43, is charged with second-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
He shot his estranged wife, 42-year-old Julie Serna Gonzales, four times in the chest during an altercation at their home on April 19. He claims he acted in self-defense after his wife attacked him with a knife.
Judge Sarah Deneke declared a mistrial Friday after the jurors let her know that they were unable to agree on a verdict.
The jury deliberated more than 25 hours over three days in Stafford Circuit Court before throwing in the towel. Courthouse officials said they could not recall another Stafford trial in which deliberations lasted that long.
Friday was the eighth day of a trial that was scheduled for five days.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen announced right away that he would try Gonzales again.
A hearing was scheduled for April 24 to discuss the status of the case and to set a date for a new trial.
Meanwhile, Gonzales will remain free on bond while still having the same charges hanging over his head.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t get a verdict,” defense attorney Mark Gardner said. “But we appreciate the jury’s efforts.”
Olsen claimed repeatedly during the trial that Gonzales staged the slaying scene and lied over and over in an attempt to cover his tracks.
He said that Gonzales was “obsessed” with a younger woman, Cara Kast, and killed his wife in part because he was frustrated that things weren’t working out with Kast.
While Olsen argued that the forensic evidence supported Gonzales’ guilt, Gardner claimed it was “100 percent” in line with what the FBI agent told police right after the shooting.
He called the claims that he staged the slaying “far-fetched at best” and Gonzales testified that while his marriage was ending, he still loved his wife as the mother of his children.
The jury had the choice of finding Gonzales guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter or nothing.
It was not immediately clear where the split was on those three options.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404