Local wife fights for husband on death row
Just like the old adage warns, for most couples, married life is a series of hills and valleys. For Milwaukee's Carolina Soza-Gonzales, the wife of a man who is currently on death row, the valleys dip a little deeper.
In 1994, Soza-Gonzales' husband, Gabriel Gonzales, was sentenced to die by lethal injection for a crime committed in Texas. Soza-Gonzales believes her husband -- -- who is currently an inmate at the Bexar County Jail in San Antonio -- is innocent, and she works tirelessly on his case with the dream of getting him resentenced.
"There is no evidence placing Gabriel at the scene of the crime," she says. "Today we know ... that important evidence was hidden by the prosecution. This evidence would have helped Gabriel tremendously."
A fundraiser for the Gonzales family will take place at The National, 839 W. National Ave., on Friday, May 15, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Gonzales was convicted of a "pawn shop robbery gone wrong" which resulted in the death of an employee, Louella Hilton, who tried to escape during the burglary. Soza-Gonzales says there is no evidence that places Gonzales at the scene of the crime, nor did authorities ever find the weapon that killed Hilton.
Gonzales is waiting for a resentencing hearing where he could be sentenced to life in prison instead of death.
"After the resentencing, we will have one calendar year to appeal for a new trial, and that is really what we are going for," says Soza-Gonzales. "We know that if we have a new trial Gabriel will be exonerated because there is no real evidence against him."
Soza-Gonzales, who worked for numerous social service agencies, became aware of Gonzales while researching the death penalty. During her research, she came across an inmates-run organization that attempts to raise community awareness about the hardships of Texas' death row.
"I went through the Web site carefully and I saw Gabriel," says Soza-Gonzales. "I read his poetry and articles, and I was so impressed about his political and spiritual views and I decided to write him to extend my solidarity."
Gonzales responded to Soza-Gonzales' letter with a 20-page poem -- what Soza-Gonzales refers to as a "manifesto" -- and she was deeply moved by his words, feeling instantly connected to the man.
"When I first met him I thought he was a great person in a horrible situation," says Soza-Gonzales. "Even though he was not the first death row inmate I met, he was the only one that touched me since day one."
Eventually, the couple fell in love and got married even though they speak on the phone only once a month. Soza-Gonzales was able to visit her husband in February.
Soza-Gonzales says Gonzales grew up in a poor, abusive environment and that he has changed dramatically in the past 14 years.
"I am a Latino father of three and a husband to a wife who I love more than anything," writes Gabriel Gonzales on his Web site. "I spend most of my time writing, reading and seeking to extend myself beyond the limitations of this cruel and unusual confinement of isolation, sensory deprivation and physical and psychological abuse."
Soza-Gonzales believes her husband's art and poetry reflect his transformation and that the truth will eventually reunite her with her husband.
"Gabriel is a symbol to me that change is possible," says Soza-Gonzales. "Gabriel is my hero."
First of all Christyfarr, I would like to say that I am so sorry for your loss. Your mother did not deserve to die this way. But, I could not help but to write in regards to your comment where you state that "No one gets sentenced to death without very good evidence", I must correct you on that. I am not saying Gabriel is innocent or guilty, I do not know that facts of the case and I will make no judgment. But, for you to say that no one gets sentenced to death without very good evidence is incorrect. Please research a bit more on that and you will see that there have been people exonerated from death row because they WERE INNOCENT. Our justice systems is not error proof and more people than you can possible think of are innocent and may even have been sentenced to death. The law of parties, these people may be guilty of a crime....but not of murder and should not be sitting on death row. So, I am sorry to correct your statement, but it is very wrong for you to assume all men and women on the death rows are guilty.. JUST A THOUGHT!
Not only did your reporter fail to check the facts about this murderous scum, the alleged "wife" is nothing but a scumpal and should be flogged. Can we just get on with whacking this idiot?
This fund raiser is a slap in my family's face. Louella Hilton is my mother and I live in WI. Carolina didn't mention that her husband, Gabriel Gonzalez was a cripps gang member and a drug dealer. He'd been in and out of prison his whole life. There were eye witnesses that put him at the seen of the murder. Fellow gang members testified that her was the killer. no evidence? No one gets sentenced to death without very good evidence.
My Name is Darla Hilton Gurkins, My Mother is the VICTIM in this article. I was also a witness to the robbery since I worked for my mother. Carolina Gonzales seems to have given the author of this article some very WRONG information. I have not been contacted by the author of this article or I could have told her a few FACTS! Just what is this EVIDENCE HIDDEN BY THE PROSECUTION? There has been NO evidence hidden by the prosecution, I would have thought the author, Ms. Snyder, would have FOLLOWED up on this statement, because it is potentally libelous to the presecution. Gonzales has nothing to back this up , other than the word of a convicted capital murderer. My Mother, Louella, was not an employee, as stated in the article, she was THE OWNER! Another fact not checked. And they DID find the murder weapon, the ballistics were inconclusive. Another Fact NOT CHECKED. Yes we are waiting for a resentancing, but the GUILTY VERDICT STANDS. He was not granted a new resentancing because of lost evidence, he was granted this because the jury saw him in handcuffs. As for a new trial? I have been assured that if that is granted on appeal, we WILL GO FOR THE DEATH PENALTY again and we WILL WIN IT. As for Gabriel saying he was no where near the scene? On his own web site, he admits he was passed out in the get away car. I really wish that people would quit making this man out to be a martyr. Darla Hilton
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