UPDATE (4/26): Gonzalez has been sentenced to 94 years to life in prison. His sentencing took place Thursday, according to court records.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A jury on Wednesday convicted a man of murder and attempted murder in connection with the shooting of two men in 2015.
Jose Manuel Gonzalez, 35, faces a life term in prison at his sentencing hearing next month.
On the night of Nov. 5, 2015, Gonzalez and two accomplices drove to a trucking company in Arvin and yelled for two men inside the building. The men, Antonio Reyes and Juan De La Garza, left the building, at which point Gonzalez tried to kidnap De La Garza.
De La Garza resisted, and Gonzalez drew a handgun and shot him in the head, prosecutors said. One of the accomplices shot Reyes with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing him. Gonzalez and the accomplices fled.
Despite suffering severe injury, De La Garza survived, and a witness who heard the gunshots notified authorities.
Gonzalez was identified through eyewitness testimony and DNA evidence, prosecutors said. A warrant was issued for his arrest in 2016, but he remained on the run for years and wasn’t taken into custody until spotted back in Kern County in 2020.
After the conviction, District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said, “Murder cases often take years for investigation, identification, and apprehension to finally begin a trial. When a murder suspect flees Kern County, or even the United States, law enforcement does not stop searching to ensure that the
suspect is apprehended and prosecuted. The efforts of the entire law enforcement community were
successful in ensuring a violent felon is not permitted to stay on our streets.”