Jury selection set to proceed in Gonzalez case - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Jury selection set to proceed in case of Lufkin home invasion, sexual assault

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Ismael Gonzalez (Source: Angelina County Jail) Ismael Gonzalez (Source: Angelina County Jail)
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -

An Angelina County judge on Thursday denied the writ of habeas corpus filed by the defense attorney for the Lufkin man accused of invading the home of his ex-girlfriend and robbing, threatening, and sexually assaulting her in April.

Ismael Gonzalez Jr., 40, and his defense attorney, Al Charanza, appeared in the 217th Judicial District Court Wednesday. Now, the Angelina County District Attorney's office will proceed with Gonzalez' jury trial. Jury selection for the trial will start on Oct. 22.

"If they can't prove that he did the lesser charge of sexual assault charge, then they're barred from trying him on the aggravated sexual assault charge," Charanza said.

Charanza told Bryan that the main reason he filed the writ of habeas corpus was that there was a lack of due process by the state in Gonzalez' case. After briefly discussing the legal precedent with prosecuting attorney Lane Thompson, Bryan said, ‘I'm denying the motion for a writ of habeas corpus.

"A writ of habeas corpus is used to bring a prisoner or other detainee before the court to determine if the person's imprisonment or detention is lawful," states a definition on the Cornell University Law School Web site. "In the US system, federal courts can use the writ of habeas corpus to determine if a state's detention of a prisoner is valid."  

During the hearing, Thompson made a request that Gonzalez be swabbed for a DNA sample. The prosecutor added that semen samples were collected from several parts of the victim's body after the alleged sexual assault in April. He said the request was just in case Gonzalez decides to change his story at some point before the jury trial.

"The defendant is saying that the sexual contact that occurred in the closet on that day was consensual, even though it occurred after a violent act," Thompson said.

According to police reports, Gonzalez forced his way into his ex-girlfriend's residence in the 200 block of Oak Hollow Street by pushing past the child that answered the door, knocking the 7-year-old boy down in the process.

Gonzalez then allegedly confronted Robert Estrada with a large knife and told the man to leave or he was going to kill him. Estrada then fled the house with his son and called 911 from a neighbor's residence, according to police reports. Gonzalez allegedly threatened the victim with a gun before he sexually assaulted her.

Lufkin officers secured the residence and arrested Gonzalez when he came out of the bedroom where the woman and her daughter were located.

The police officers recovered the knife that is believed to have been used in the assault, along with the cash and money that the victim said Gonzalez stole from her. In addition, a search of his residence turned up the handgun that Gonzalez used to threaten to kill his ex-girlfriend.

Gonzalez was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, and aggravated robbery. His collective bond was set at $115,000.

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