Photo: David Gonzalez, guilty of murder
by Anita Nembhard-Flowers (freelance reporter)
BELIZE CITY, Fri. Nov. 10, 2023
He was accused of killing his wife. A single gunshot to the head killed 28-year-old Marisela Gonzalez, a mother of a three-year-old girl and the wife of businessman David Gonzalez of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. And while he denied any involvement in her murder, David Gonzalez was the last person to have seen his wife alive, and the evidence all pointed to him as the culprit; and so, in late 2020 Gonzalez was charged with the murder of his wife.
The forensic evidence gathered by police and by the doctor who examined Marisela Gonzalez’s body seemed to indicate that her killer, after shooting her, dragged her motionless body to a garbage site on the island and left her there to die.
It is believed that David Gonzalez then went home, after disposing of the bloody clothing he was wearing, and went to care for the couple’s 3-year-old daughter whom he had put to bed before heading to sleep that night.
He told police that he had no idea what happened to his wife, even when he did not see her come home from an alleged outing the night before.
He further claimed that he never thought anything strange of it, and he never reported her missing. In fact, it was not until her family became aware of the situation that a missing person report was made.
Where and when the murder took place is still uncertain, but the last spot where the couple was seen was on Secret Beach in San Pedro.
That’s where, according to Gonzalez, he and his wife and daughter had been out socializing with friends. They later left for home on a golf cart.
He claimed that she was drunk, and since they were out with their daughter, they left, and whilst on their way home, they argued about infidelity, and that’s when his wife, he claimed, left to go back and drink some more.
He claimed that he gave her money, after which he headed home with their daughter, and, according to him, he never saw his wife again.
Today, however, after the murder trial of Gonzalez had concluded, Justice Ricardo O’Neil Sandcroft ruled that Gonzalez, who was being represented by attorney Oscar Selgado, was guilty of murder.
Justice Sandcroft said, “After evaluating the evidence of all, I conclude that the prosecution has proven all the essential elements against you beyond a reasonable doubt, so I convict you of murder, guilty.”
As Gonzalez stood still in the dock, no emotions of remorse were visible on his face. He just stood still with no reaction to the verdict. Behind him sat his wife’s sister, Myra Guzman, who, when she heard the verdict, began to cry.
Sentencing has been deferred to December 14, 2023, since Justice Sandcroft has ordered that a Social Inquiry Report (SIR) be prepared for Gonzalez before a suitable sentence could be passed upon him.
Justice Sandcroft, despite handing down a guilty verdict, had classified the evidence on which the case was based as indirect and “circumstantial”, since there had been no eyewitness to Marisela Gonzalez’s murder; but he noted that he had reviewed the evidence carefully before he arrived at his judgment, which was handed down in a 45-page decision.
Sandcroft made reference to key portions of that evidence, including the testimony of the Crown’s main witness, a Sandhill businessman who got the distress call from Gonzalez after he had shot his wife. According to that witness, he got a call from David Gonzalez, who he said told him, “Ah just kill mi wife”.
The witness also mentioned that Gonzalez, before uttering those words, first asked him, “Can I trust you?”
The witness told the court that he had worked with Gonzalez for six years, and both he and his wife had stored Gonzalez ‘s cell number in their phones.
That witness testified that he was asleep when his wife woke him, telling him that his phone was ringing. He said that he recognized well the voice of the man on the phone as David Gonzalez.
Justice Sandcroft also looked carefully at the evidence of Dr. Mario Estradabran, who carried out a postmortem exam on the victim’s body, and who said that Marisela Gonzalez sustained a single gunshot wound to the head.
Justice Sandcroft said he pieced together all the strands of circumstantial evidence, and when the dots were connected, they indicated that Gonzalez, who admitted to being the last person to see his wife alive the night before, had committed the crime.
He also looked at the circumstances behind their last encounter—the fact that, according to Gonzalez himself in his dock statement, they had argued about infidelity.
It was also noted that when police visited Gonzalez after his wife went missing, they observed that he had injuries to his body.
David Gonzalez is the son of Dr. Daniel Benjamin Gonzalez, 57, a medical doctor and owner of a clinic on the island named Ambergris Hopes Clinic located on Laguna Drive, in San Pedro. Gonzalez ‘s father had also testified in the murder trial and spoke about the items he had handed over to police that belonged to his son after he was detained by police for the murder of his wife.
The couple shared a daughter who was three years old at the time of her mother’s murder. The child is now a 6-year-old.
In an interview with Marisela Gonzalez’s sister, Myra Guzman, she told us that today justice has been seen and not just heard of.
She cried as she spoke about the ordeal her family has had to endure since the murder of her sister.
Mryra Guzman herself testified in the trial. She spoke about how she witnessed her sister being controlled by David Gonzalez during the three-year period that she lived with them at their San Pedro home.
She testified that he was very jealous, controlling and abusive towards her sister while she had lived in their home.