Friday, July 08, 2011

Victim impact statement by Gina Gonzalez

Raul & Brisenia

At the start of the penalty phase in the trial for former Arivaca resident Albert Robert Gaxiola the Pima County Superior Court jury that is charged with deciding if the defendant spends the rest of his life in prison or will be executed by lethal injection heard from the surviving victim in the case, Gina Gonzalez.

On July 1, Gaxiola, 44, was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Raul “Junior” Flores and his daughter Brisenia, as well as six other charges. Earlier this year, Jason Eugene Bush and Shawna Forde were found guilty on the same charges in separate trials. They both ended up with death sentences imposed by the juries hearing the evidence of their crimes.

Gonzalez is a very soft-spoken person so not all of her words could be heard from the back of the courtroom, thus she graciously provided a copy of the statement she read to the jury. It is reproduced below.

Gina Gonzalez
Dear Jurors,

I am so thankful and relieved you have taken the time to allow me to read my impact statement. As you can probably imagine, the murder of my husband and daughter on May 30, 2009, has changed my life forever.

I went to bed with my family as I normally would on any given night, not imagining I would never wake up from this never-ending nightmare.

The defendant and my family hung around together, we laughed, he played video games with my daughters, told them how beautiful they were, how well-behaved they were, how their hair always looked nice. The memory that sticks out most in my mind is when the defendant would throw Brisenia up in the air, catch her and make her laugh.

We were all friends. How could someone who loved my family plot their final destiny? How could someone who loved my family stand by and allow a child he made laugh be murdered?

Brisenia was a beautiful little girl. I can’t possibly understand what she could have done to deserve this. What could I have done to deserve this? What could my husband have done to deserve this? What did Alexandra, my oldest daughter, do to deserve the loss of her little sister, who was her best friend and her father, who she misses very much?

I am still in denial about the whole thing. I can’t believe someone I loved and trusted could have done something like this. For the longest time, I never thought the defendant would have been capable of doing something like this...almost wiping out my entire family.

It saddened me to know that Brisenia’s face had to be reconstructed for her funeral. It was very hard to see my child in the casket. It was also hard to see my husband in the casket. But it was more difficult to comprehend that I may know the person who did this to them. I continue to have a hard time re-directing my grieving for both my husband and daughter. It’s all so overwhelming!

Who put Junior’s name on the bullet and didn’t care what happened to my daughter and me?

The defendant knew my history with Junior. He knew we had been together since he was 15 years old. When my husband was murdered, we were two-and-a-half months short of being married 13 years. We had built our lives together and we were looking forward to growing old together. He had a great sense of humor, was a great cook and he loved his little girls very much.

It’s hard for me to understand how this all happened. I have so many questions that will remain unanswered. I just need to know “Why? Even though knowing why still wouldn’t be good enough. It still won’t bring them back.

My life is ruined. I now know that evil lives among us and it comes in many forms. It can even befriend you, gain your trust and kill your family.

Thank you for your time.