Photo: Balam Eugenio Gonzalez
SANTA CLARA COUNTY– The suspect sat through a trial for two separate deadly shootings. In both incidents, thinking they were rival gang members, 24-year-old Balam Eugenio Gonzalez shot and killed them.
The District Attorney’s Office has concluded the cases and sentenced Gonzalez to life without the possibility of parole. Prosecutor Rob Baker said, “Hopefully, this verdict will send a message (to) our community.” He added, “We will not accept this senseless gang violence that kills our youth and destroys families.”
Sentencing was set on May 24, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. in Department 35 of the Hall of Justice. It followed a court trial on his prior conviction of a gang-related firearm possession.
A jury found the defendant guilty for the first-degree murder of Pedro Cortez on November 23, 2013. They also rendered a guilty verdict the first-degree murder of Armando Heredia on August 23, 2012. “Gonzalez fired his weapon at Capitol Park as families and children were enjoying a sunny weekend,” Baker said. “The attack left Pedro Cortez dying on the grass as friends and bystanders unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate him.”
Jurors also found Gonzalez guilty of a drive-by premeditated attempted murder for the shooting that occurred on August 18, 2012. Firearm ballistics proved that the same gun was used in both of the 2012 drive-by shootings that killed two men and injured another. Baker said, “Gunshot residue found in blue-colored bullets found in the victim’s body at Capital Park matched residue found in the defendant’s car.”