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Published: Wednesday, 6/12/2002

Husband charged with murder in stabbing of spouse in Weston

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

WESTON, Ohio - Just a few hours after Fred and Lisa Gonzales attended their 5-year-old son's baseball game, Mr. Gonzales called 911 early yesterday to say he had stabbed his estranged wife at her home.

By the time the call arrived, though, Wood County sheriff's deputies had found Mrs. Gonzales on the kitchen floor, stabbed to death. A neighbor who heard the couple's young children screaming outside their house just before 1 a.m. called 911. The neighbor said Mr. Gonzales drove off with the children.

Mrs. Gonzales, who would have turned 32 Saturday, suffered multiple stab wounds, sheriff's deputies said. Results of an autopsy conducted yesterday in Lucas County were not available, according to Dr. Manuel de la Serna, deputy Wood County coroner.

A licensed practical nurse, Mrs. Gonzales had worked for two years as director of the assisted-living unit at a Pemberville retirement home.

Records show she had called police one month ago to report a domestic violence incident but had not sought a restraining order against her husband.

Mr. Gonzales, 30, posted $10,000 bond after appearing May 20 in Bowling Green Municipal Court on one count of domestic violence. He was to have been in court again yesterday on the case. Instead, deputies filed a murder charge against him.

During a video arraignment from the jail, Magistrate Tom McDermott set bond at $500,000 for the murder charge, $30,000 for the domestic violence charge.

A neighbor who did not want to be identified said she knew Mr. Gonzales had moved out more than a month earlier.

When she got home from work about 12:30 a.m., she said she saw Mr. Gonzales' pickup truck in the driveway, but she did not become alarmed until about a half-hour later.

“We heard the babies crying outside, so I called 911,” she said. “I told them, `Something's wrong. These kids are little. There's no reason they should be outside screaming to get in at this time of night. Something is wrong.'”

Sheriff's deputies said Mr. Gonzales took the couple's 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter to his sister's house on Brim Road. There, he called 911 to say he wanted to turn himself in. He was arrested a short while later.

“The kids were home at the time, but what they may or may not have seen, we don't know,” Chief Deputy Mark Hummer said.

He said the sheriff's office had been called to Mrs. Gonzales' Broadway Avenue address twice in the last six months on domestic disputes - once by her, once by him.

“There were three other times in the last year we went out there on keep-the-peace, custody issues - not actual calls of domestic violence,” Chief Deputy Hummer said.

Court and police records show the couple had a stormy relationship since before they were married in November, 1997.

Mr. Gonzales was convicted of domestic violence in 1996 after he destroyed several items at their home, grabbed her by the shoulders, and shoved her, saying, “You're not going to leave me.” He completed a domestic violence program as part of his sentence.

At times, Mr. Gonzales called police to report domestic altercations he said his wife initiated.

In December, Mrs. Gonzales was charged with domestic violence after her husband reported she had struck him in the head three times and scratched his arm during an argument. She told deputies he was “so jealous, it drives her nuts.” The charge was later dismissed.

Mr. Gonzales' parents, Frank and Marie Gonzales, said they knew Fred and Lisa had separated, but they were shocked to hear what transpired just a few houses away from their own.

Marie said Fred helped coach his 5-year-old's baseball team, and he and Lisa had been civil to each other at the game Monday evening.

“He was here about 8 o'clock and said they won their first game,” Marie Gonzales said.

She had seen Lisa cooking outside on the grill earlier in the day and waved to her. Marie said her grandchildren “worshipped” their Uncle Fred because he played ball with them.

“Basketball, football, baseball,” she said, as tears flowed down her face. “To them, he was a hero, and now look at this.”

Ed Newman, senior executive director at Otterbein-Portage Valley Retirement Community where Lisa was employed, said the staff and residents were stunned by the news.

“It's kind of hard to deal with the shock and tragedy of it all. She was a very special person,” Mr. Newman said. “It's going to leave a big void here. She made a huge impression on our folks here. It's kind of hard to understand.”



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