(KGET) — The only suspect charged in the murder of Bakersfield businessman José Arredondo in Cabo San Lucas may soon walk out of jail after being locked up since July, 2019. During a recent court hearing Judge Adrián Ríos Ordaz threw out key evidence prosecutors held against Roberto González, leaving the State Attorney General Office of Baja California Sur in a precarious position of whether to proceed with the case against González.
“Right now they have zero credibility in the case against Roberto,” said defense attorney Jaime Tacher after a three day hearing.
The case has taken many twists since Arredondo’s body was found in his condo the morning of July 16, 2019 at Gardenia Complex in Cabo San Lucas. Tacher and fellow defense attorney Julio César García de León challenged the state’s evidence which largely centered on statements police said were obtained from an security guard and from a vehicle belonging to González. According to police reports read in court, the security guard Diego Magallan told investigators he saw and identified González as the man who drove into the complex, park his vehicle and walk into Arrendondo’s unit the night of July 15, 2019. Arredondo’s body was found the next morning in his condo. He was tortured and murdered in a brutal fashion, with his right ear mutilated, a fingernail pulled from its bed, stabbed numerous times in his back and beaten to death.
González was a long-time friend and golfing partner of Arredondo. He was arrested several days later and charged with his friend’s murder. But his attorneys argued Magallan’s statements were obtained by coercive, intimidating and illegal means. Turns out Magallan was a minor, 17-years-old when he was interviewed by police. Under Mexican law, a parent, guardian or psychologist must be present when a minor is interviewed by police. The judge threw out the statements Magallan allegedly told police and any evidence police were able to derive from those statements, including identifying González as the man who entered Arredondo’s condo that night.
“So all that came from that evidence is null,” said Tacher.
The judge also agreed with the defense that evidence found in González van had been seriously mishandled. After police found the vehicle on a street in Cabo San Lucas, the judge noted police failed to inventory, photograph evidence and restrict access to the vehicle before taking it to an impound lot. Judge Ríos Ordaz said police failed to follow due process by not adhering to a proper chain of custody.
“What was found in said vehicle, everything at hand that was found as a consequence should be nullified,” said Ríos Ordaz.
This is key because police claim to have found blood stains inside González vehicle. Blood on the pedals, the carpet and on golf shoes in the van. Defense lawyers claim that shortly after González was arrested, police broke into his apartment and removed items from a closet including a pair of golf shoes. The lawyers allege police planted the blood and the shoes in the vehicle to frame their client. The blood was a match to the murder victim, José Arredondo.
We tried to get a comment from the Attorney General’s Office in Cabo San Lucas in response to the judge’s ruling, but so far there’s been no response. Roberto González remains in custody since his arrest in July, 2019. The next court hearing is scheduled for September 21. Defense attorneys say they are “95 percent certain” González will be released. No one else has been arrested in this case.