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FBI agent to face second trial in wife’s slaying

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A second multiday trial has been scheduled in Stafford County for an FBI agent who killed his estranged wife last year.

Arthur B. Gonzales, 43, is charged with second-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

A new trial is scheduled for Sept. 8 to 16 in Stafford Circuit Court.

Gonzales’ first trial last month went on for eight days, but a jury was unable to reach a verdict following 25 hours of deliberations.

Judge Sarah Deneke finally declared a mistrial and Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen immediately announced that he would try Gonzales again.

Sources said the jurors voted 10 to 2 to acquit Gonzales, and the two who wanted to convict him were only supporting a lesser charge of manslaughter.

According to evidence presented during the lengthy trial, Gonzales shot 42-year-old Julie Serna Gonzales four times in the chest during an April 19, 2013, altercation at their home on Alderwood Drive in North Stafford.

Gonzales claimed he acted in self-defense after his wife attacked him with a knife.

The prosecution contends that Gonzales deliberately killed his wife and staged the crime scene and lied in an effort to cover it up.

If defense attorney Mark Gardner has his way, Gonzales will face a no more than a manslaughter charge in the second trial.

Gardner has filed motions asking Deneke to dismiss the murder and firearms charges. As he argued at trial, Gardner insists that the prosecution evidence didn’t support either charge.

Gardner wrote that a second murder trial would essentially subject Gonzales to “double jeopardy,” since it was clear that the previous jury had ruled out murder early in its deliberations.

A hearing on Gardner’s motions is set for May 9. Gonzales remains free on bond.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

 

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