A state appeals court panel Tuesday upheld a man’s conviction for murdering his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend in her Winnetka-area apartment.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that jurors in Brian Gonzales’ trial should have been allowed to hear an expert’s testimony about which region of the brain was active when a person acts during the heat of passion.
Gonzales was convicted of the Jan. 17, 2016, shooting deaths of Emily Fox, 22, of Winnetka, and Jerrad Scott, 24, of La Mesa.
Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations of murder during the commission of a kidnapping and multiple murders, along with allegations that Gonzales used and fired a handgun during the commission of the crimes.
Gonzales confronted his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend in the hallway outside her apartment, chased Scott down as Fox called 911, forced him to return at gunpoint and then opened fire, according to the appellate court panel’s 29-page ruling.
The panel noted that jurors heard testimony that Gonzales had been verbally and physically abusive to his ex-girlfriend, that he armed himself before going to see her, that he did not draw his gun until Fox confirmed that Scott was her new boyfriend and that he deliberately disengaged the safety of his gun after he saw Fox on the phone and aimed at the two.
Both victims died at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.
Gonzales was arrested without incident at a Greyhound bus station while sitting on a bus that was going to Tijuana, Mexico, the justices noted.
Gonzales, now 29, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in June 2020.