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HANFORD — The trial of accused killer Zachary Gonzalez started Tuesday with grisly details about the 14 to 15 gunshots that killed Julio Munoz Gonzalez earlier this year.

Gonzalez, 21, is charged with first-degree murder with special circumstances of robbery and participating in a street gang for the June 17 shooting of Julio Gonzalez, 25, no relation. The Hanford Police Department found Julio Gonzalez’s body in a field near Cameron Street and 10th Avenue following multiple reports of shots fired in the area.

During opening statements, Deputy District Attorney Matt Darby said Julio Gonzalez had spent the day with his mother and a friend. Darby said prosecutors believe evidence will show Julio Gonzalez was walking on a dirt pathway from Cameron Street on his way to Sierra Liquor when Zachary Gonzalez “brutally and harshly” shot him multiple times with a 40-caliber handgun.

Darby said Zachary Gonzalez had been at Sierra Liquor just two minutes before the gunshots rang out. Witnesses reportedly saw him running across the field and heading west on Cameron Street shortly after.

Zachary Gonzalez rifled through the victim’s pockets and took property from him, Darby said, supporting the robbery charges.

Zachary Gonzalez’s defense attorney Afreen Kaelble did not give an opening statement Tuesday.

Dr. Gary Walter, the forensic pathologist who conducted Julio Gonzalez’s autopsy, testified that he found 27 gunshot wounds on the victim's body. Walter said the wounds on Julio Gonzalez’s head, shoulders, arms and hand were consistent with 14 to 15 total rounds being fired.

Walter said an X-ray conducted before the autopsy found six bullet slugs in the Julio Gonzalez’s skull. Three of those, he said, would have been fatal due to brain damage and bleeding. Walter said gunshots to either side of Julio Gonzalez’s chest and back were also considered fatal, piercing his lungs and grazing his heart.

Walter said the victim had pieces of gunpowder embedded in his back, suggesting that he had been shot at close range.

“It’s just like ink would be placed under the skin for a tattoo,” Walter said. “It’s called ‘powder tattooing.’”

Hanford police Cpl. Christifer Barker said he was the first officer to respond to a call around 11:11 p.m. of shots fired and a person fleeing near 10th Avenue and Cameron Street.

Barker said he drove around the area for several minutes before pulling into the parking lot of Sierra Liquor, located in the 1200 block of North 10th Avenue. From the parking lot, Barker said, he entered a dirt path that runs southwest from the back of the liquor store across a field to Cameron Street.

Barker said he saw a body lying face up along the path and called for an ambulance. He said he approached the victim, who did not appear to be moving or breathing, and noticed several gunshot wounds.

Members of the Hanford Fire Department arrived and declared the victim dead.

Crime scene photos presented to the jury showed one of Julio Gonzalez’s shoes had been removed. Several shell casings were scattered near his body.

Hanford police Detective Jason Gustin said Julio Gonzalez was wearing black socks but no shoes when police found him. Investigators found a size 10 1/2 Van’s left shoe next to the body along with some wrapped candies and loose change strewn on the path. Gustin said Julio Gonzalez had dirt on his socks, suggesting he had been walking in the dirt.

“His pants were unbuttoned and they were pulled slightly down,” Gustin said.

Gustin said investigators also found numerous .40-caliber shell casings.

The trial will continue on Wednesday.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2458 or meiman@HanfordSentinel.com.

 

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