In April 2011, eighteen year old Saul Gonzlez was arrested on chargers of Murder in the First Degree along with various Assualt and Gang Allegations. The prosecution of Mr. Gonzalez arose out of a late night fight that occured between two groups of young men. During the fight several people were stabbed including a fourteen year old boy who was stabbed in the neck and pronounced dead at the scene. Mr. Gonzalez was tried as an adult for the murder of the young teen. He was tried under the theory of 1st Degree Murder with a Special Circumstance that the murder was done for the benefit of a criminal street gang. The mandatory sentence for such a charge is Life Without Parole.

After a five week jury trial, th Law Offices of Mark Anthony Raimondo is proud to announce that Mr. Gonzalez was found NOT GUILTY on all counts as well as all of the enhancements. Mr. Gonzalez was released from the Kern County Jail shortly after the verdict was read.

Nancy Gonzalez, Saul’s Mother stated, “It all happened so fast, that I was not able to make it to the court in time to hear the verdict.” Mr. Raimondo called Nancy moments after the verdict was read. ” I just kept saying, thank you God, that you Mr. Raimondo, thank you, I have been praying for this for a long time, thank you.”

Saul and Mr. Raimondo enbraced each other as the unanimous verdicts were being read aloud in open court. “I was relieved after I heard the Not-Guilty Verdicts on all the Murder Counts, and very pleased to hear the Not Guilty Verdicts on all the remaining counts as well,” said Mr. Raimondo. He continued, “It has been a lot of hard work and Ihave really come to care for Saul and his family.”

Prior to the incident in 2011, Saul was an Honor Student finishing up his High School Studies while working full time to help support his mother and younger siblings. Mr. Gonzalez had recieved a National Scholastic Award in 2009 recognizing him for his creative writing talents. He also had no prior significant criminal history. Since his release in May 2013, Saul has reunited with his family and is working towards entering college in the upcoming year.

Murder-Manslaughter-Unlawful Homicide-Self Defense

First Degree Murder

First degree murder is an unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. Premeditation is key to a prosecutor’s case of first degree murder.  Premeditation can exist where there have been months of planning or when a split second decision to kill has been made. All that is required is that a person decides to kill and then they kill. It doesn’t matter how much time does or does not elapse between the decision to kill and the actual death.  Penalties in California for first degree murder range from 25 years to life, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and even the death penalty.

Second Degree Murder

Second degree murder is punishable by a minimum of 15 years to life. Murder in the second degree also requires malice aforethought but it does not require premeditation. Therefore, murder in the second degree usually exists where it can be shown that a person did not have the necessary mental state for premeditation but did act intentionally. Second degree murder is similar to first degree murder although it is not necessary that premeditation is proven by the prosecution, such as in a sudden fight or in the heat of passion. Additionally, if someone commits a felony that is inherently dangerous to human life, and someone dies during the commission of the felony, that person can be charged with second degree murder. For example, if a person furnishes a dangerous drug such as heroin to someone else, and that person overdoses and dies, the person who furnished the heroin can be charged and convicted of second degree murder, punishable by a minimum of 15 years to life. This means the person could spend the rest of their life in prison, and would not be eligible for parole until at least 15 years.


Manslaughter involves a person killing another human being without premeditation, malice, or planning. Although technically considered a less serious criminal offense than murder, in which a suspect is accused of “malice aforethought,” manslaughter—weather voluntary, involuntary, or vehicular manslaughter—is still a very serious crime that can lead to years behind bars.  A homicide is considered manslaughter when there is a killing of one human being by another but malice is not present.

Voluntary Manslaughter

Is a murder that is generally committed “in the heat of passion” or as “imperfect self-defense.” The judicial definition of voluntary manslaughter is an unlawful killing that is committed without malice but with a conscious disregard for life. Voluntary manslaughter can occur during the “heat of passion,” a moment of temporary insanity or reasonable provocation (when circumstances could cause any normal person to lose control or act without thinking), or while another felony crime, such as rape or robbery, is being committed.

Involuntary Manslaughter

This offense involves the involuntary and unintentional killing of another person while the accused was allegedly engaged in an illegal act (a misdemeanor or low-level felony) or in reckless or grossly negligent behavior. An example of involuntary manslaughter would be if an individual punched somebody in the face and that person died. If the punch to the face was not intended to kill, there is no intent to kill, and because the punch was not meant to kill, there was no conscious disregard for human life.

Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular Manslaughter Involves the involuntary manslaughter of another person while the accused was driving and allegedly engaged in illegal behavior or a reckless act that is known to cause bodily harm or death.  An example of vehicular manslaughter is if a person got behind the wheel of a car and drove as fast as they could disregard traffic signs, crashed into another car killing the driver of the other car or a passenger in their car. Any Manslaughter conviction carries serious penalties.

Mark Anthony Raimondo is an experienced criminal trial lawyer who will fight to acquit you before a California jury.  He may also use expert negotiation tactics to negotiate a favorable plea agreement. Call immediately as early intervention is critical. The Law Offices of Mark Anthony Raimondo are available 24/7 at (661) 827-8000