Gonzales Juror Discusses the Capital Murder Verdict - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/12/03

Gonzales Juror Discusses the Capital Murder Verdict

Joe Gonzales may not have pulled the trigger that killed Texas Tech student Colin Schafer, but he was the driver of the car that sped away into the darkness after Schafer was murdered.

So how did a Lubbock jury find Joe Gonzales guilty of a capital crime, the most severe under Texas law?

On August 14, 2002, it was a dark morning when Texas Tech student Colin Schafer was killed at the automated teller machine on Slide Road. One year later, another dark day - when the verdict came back guilty for capital murder for Joe Gonzales. But for 12 jury members, it was a difficult decision.

"You have a 20-year-old's life in your hands. That's a very daunting prospect," said one juror as she sat down with us to talk about the group decision.

In our video portion of the story, we hid the juror's face for her protection and she told us why they decided Joe Gonzales was guilty of capital murder.

"We had a choice of capital murder, murder, or aggravated robbery or not guilty. Since it was proven he was a participant in the aggravated robbery, the moment that the aggravated robbery became a murder even though Joe wasn't the one who pulled the trigger, Joe did help Gabriel leave, he drove away, he kept the gun at his house. It was supposedly Joe's gun. And Joe helped destroy evidence," she told us.

The weapon used; a nine millimeter semi-automatic rifle, which resembles a sawed off shotgun. A weapon police found inside Gonzales's house. They also found Schafer's burned wallet. But it was Joe's cousin, Gabriel Gonzales, who pulled the trigger, not Joe.

"Under the Texas Laws of parties as it was explained to us, he was there driving, so it made him equally as guilty," she said.

Joe, a killer too. A party to the crime. Guilty of capital murder. A crime that holds an automatic life sentence.

"There were some of us having a hard time with a life sentence. There were others that were convinced aggravated robbery just wasn't enough."

This juror believes the right decision was made even knowing Joe was a father himself.

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