After a surprising result in a Cameron County courtroom, we now learn the punishment handed down was all a mistake.
After just a couple of hours of deliberation, the jury handed Marco Antonio Gonzalez five years for each of the 10 counts of aggravated assault. Nine of which were against police officers.
However, because of a lack of an understanding and clarification, the jury chose the term concurrently which means Gonzalez gets to serve the sentences as one. He will only serve five years in prison.
As of now the Cameron County District Attorney and the Brownsville Police Chief say there is nothing that can be done to correct the mistake. It is one that left many very upset, especially the police officers who were shot at in 2014.
Brownsville Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez said, “Officers were of course concerned that an individual that can shoot at officers for hours- you know at least six hours-could then walk away with a sentence. That to us is unacceptable. When you throw in credit for time served, this individual could be on the streets before too long. We live with the system. We still think it’s the best thing out there, but in this case, we don’t think the system worked completely.”
Luis Saenz the Cameron County district attorney said, “That was a mistake that it was not explained to them via jury charge. We requested the jury instruction that would explain that, and the judge denied that instruction to us, so that contributed to the confusion on the jury’s part. I’ve already talked to (State) Representative Eddie Lucio and explained to him our concern that this may happen again and that right now as it stands we may not have a vehicle to correct this mistake. Everybody agrees-the police, the DA’s office, the jury agrees-that Marco Antonio Gonzalez did not deserve five years and that he deserved to serve 45 years and that was their intent. But that was what they were not able to carry out based on the jury instructions.”
The judge was not able to be reached for comment at this time.