Witnesses involved in the murder investigation of Bakersfield businessman Jose Arredondo allege authorities in Mexico are using intimidation, kidnapping and torture to make their case against the man accused in Arredondo’s killing.
The allegations are being made by various people say that what is happening to them is being done at the hands of the state attorney general’s office in Baja California.
Telemundo Valle Central obtained exclusive vieo from a court hearing for the first time where we hear about the allegations from the man accused of killing Jose Arredondo — Roberto Gonzalez.
Gonzalez claims claims he was kidnapped and tortured by police to get him to confess to a murder he did not commit.
Before testifying at a recent court hearing in Cabo San Lucas, accused murderer Roberto Gonzalez made a plea directly to the judge.
“I ask your Honor for help, to intercede on my behalf because I’ve been threatened with death if I say what I’m about to testify,” Gonzalez said.
The 51-year-old is accused of killing his friend Jose Arredondo. Arredondo’s body was found July 16 in his condominium in Cabo San Lucas.
But Gonzalez maintains his innocence and claims he was kidnapped and tortured for nine days while being questioned by agents of the state attorney general’s office.
When he refused confess to killing Arredondo, he claims his captors would go after his family.
Gonzales says his captors told him: “We’re going to bring your mother, your sister, your family and torture them in front of you.”
“It was a very difficult time for me,” Gonzalez said.
The defense also presented pictures claiming to show that while Gonzalez was detained, other agents broke into his house, his bedroom and stole money.
But agents supposedly took something more important — tennis shoes belonging to Gonzalez.
Prosecutors claim the shoes have Arredondo’s blood on them and that Arredondo’s blood was found in Gonzalez’s car.
Over the last three weeks, Telemundo Valle Central has repeatedly asked prosecutors to respond to the allegations, but they haven’t.
Others also claim they were kidnapped and tortured in a similar way as Gonzalez.
One man, who we’ll refer to as “George,” is also a friend of Jose Arredondo and says he only knows Gonzalez by sight.
But in a videotapeed deposition, “George” claimes he and his son and a cousin were also kidnapped in August by a group of armed men and driving to a building in Cabo San Lucas.
“They held me down, put a plastic bag over me and hit me. I couldn’t breathe and I yelled for them to let me go,” he said.
“Then they told me, ‘Are you going to talk now?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I’ll talk.'”
“George” says his captors wanted him to tell them why Roberto Gonzalez killed Jose Arredondo. “George” says despite the torture, he refused to tell them what they wanted to hear, because he says he didn’t know.
Another man, “George'”s son, claims he was held in another room and questioned. He doesn’t want to show his face or reveal his name out of fear for his safety.
“I was getting hit. I had a knife to my neck and I still wasn’t answering anything. So he realized I didn’t speak Spanish,” he said.
After being detained for hours, “George” and his son were eventually released, but they say, with a warning.
“They said bad things would happen if we told anybody, even if I told my stepmom. They said, ‘Don’t tell your families, don’t tell your neighbors, don’t tell anybody here. Just leave and go home.'”
The strongest similar story came from a 16-year-old who is also a witness for the prosecution. He worked as a security guard at Jose Arredondo’s home, the Gardenia Condominium complex.
He testified at a recent court hearing that agents from the state attorney general’s office held him against his will, beat and intimidated him, forcing him to sign documents.
“They told me ‘Sign here’ and so I signed, signed and signed,” the teen said.
The documents state that the teen saw a man very similar to Roberto Gonzalez arrive at the complex the night of July 15.
Arredondo’s body was found the next morning, but now this witness for prosecution told a very different story.
“I never wrote that, I never said those things that are in there,” he said in court, adding he was afraid of what might happen to him or his family is he did not sign the documents.
The brutal murder of Bakersfield car dealer Jose Arredondo stunned Kern County. Arredonod’s body was found in a pool of blood inside his condominium in Cabo San Lucas on July 16.
Roberto Gonzalez, Arredondo’s long time friend and golf partner, is the only suspect being held so far.
Defense attorney Jaime Tacher says some may find it hard to believe suspects are subject to beatings in Mexico.
“I don’t want to sound irrational, but we are not talking about some country that’s in Africa or Asia, we’re talking about Mexico and the year is 2019, so these kinds of things cannot happen right now,” Tacher said.
“Sadly but true, I think the threats are real and these peopel are capable of anything to shut people out. Right now the advantage we have is everything is on the record.”
Roberto Gonzalez remains in jail awaiting trial at the end of January.
Several of the people who have spoken out are now in hiding, they say they fear retaliation for speaking out.
Telemundo Valle Central has reached out to the state attorney general’s office in Baja California South to get its side of the story of the allegations that it uses kidnapping and torture, but so far, we have not received a reply to to our request.