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State of New Jersey v. Antonio Gonzalez

July 12, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ANTONIO GONZALEZ, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Indictment No. 99-10-3133.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 11, 2011

Before Judges Graves and Waugh.

Defendant Antonio Gonzalez appeals from an order dated April 12, 2007, denying his petition for post-conviction relief. We affirm.

On March 9, 2001, a jury found defendant guilty of murdering Chaino Pantoja, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3(a)(1), (2); third- degree possession of a handgun without a permit, N.J.S.A. 2C:39- 5(b); and second-degree possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a). The court sentenced defendant to a thirty-year prison term with thirty years of parole ineligibility on the murder conviction. Defendant received concurrent sentences for the other offenses. Defendant's convictions were affirmed on direct appeal. State v. Gonzales, No. A-1524-01 (App. Div. Nov. 3, 2003), certif. denied, 179 N.J. 371 (2004).

In our prior opinion, we noted that the primary evidence of defendant's guilt came "from the testimony of co-defendant Henry Quinones who was present with defendant when the victim was shot and killed," and we summarized the pertinent facts as follows:

On August 8, 1999, at about 8:30 p.m., defendant and Quinones were together on Crane Street in Newark. Defendant told Quinones that he wanted to get the "motherfuckers," meaning the victim Chaino Pantoja and Jesus Badillo, who was known as Chucho, "off the block" because they were making more money from selling drugs than defendant. Quinones told defendant not to worry because he would back up defendant in any fight with the victim and Chucho. Thereupon, Quinones rode his bike and defendant walked to ... Crane Street where Chaino and Chucho were sitting on the steps. Defendant had a gun in his hand.

While Quinones remained on his bike approximately three to four feet away, defendant told Chaino, that he had to "get off the block." Chaino did not argue with or threaten defendant; he did not have a gun and made no threatening moves toward defendant. Chaino told defendant that he and Chucho would leave.

Nevertheless, defendant walked up very close to Chaino, pulled a .357 magnum handgun from his pants, cocked the gun and shot Chaino in the mouth. After Chaino was shot, he tried to stand up, but stumbled and fell over. Quinones rode his bike away from the murder scene and did not turn himself into the police for ten days, when he heard that the police wanted him for questioning. He provided a statement to the police implicating defendant.. . . .

After the shooting, defendant ran to ... Prince Street where Glisette Medina, the mother of his child, lived. Medina's apartment was located "quite a distance across Newark" from ... Crane Street. Defendant and Medina did not live together and prior to the day of the shooting, defendant had not visited Medina for "a couple of months." When defendant arrived at Medina's house, where she lived with her boyfriend Jameel Mitchel, she observed defendant to be upset, very nervous and sweating "a lot." Defendant was wearing white sneakers, blue short pants and no shirt.

Defendant told Medina that he had shot someone "in the head" on Crane Street with a .357 magnum and killed them. He asked Medina for money so that he could go to Puerto Rico. She did not give defendant the money, but told him to lie down in her children's bedroom. While in the bedroom, defendant asked Medina for a pair of shorts into which he could change.

After defendant went into the bedroom, Medina and her boyfriend Jameel began to argue about defendant's presence at the apartment. As a result, Medina called the police, reporting a domestic disturbance. When the police arrived, Jameel told them that defendant was in the bedroom and had killed someone. Defendant, who appeared to be "very nervous" and "sweating profusely," was arrested at Medina's apartment. Medina turned over to the police the shorts defendant had been wearing. The shorts had a blood stain, but it was inconclusive as to whether it ...


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