TWIN FALLS — After less than an hour of deliberation, a jury has found a man guilty of three felonies and one misdemeanor, all related to his abuse of a child.
David Herrera Gonzalez, 32, stood before the jury of seven men and six women to hear the verdict Thursday evening in Twin Falls County Court.
The jury found Gonzalez guilty of two felony counts of injury to a child, one felony count of aggravated battery with an enhanced sentence for use of a deadly weapon, and one count of misdemeanor battery.
Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 9. He remains in custody at the Twin Falls County Jail.
Defense attorney Daniel Brown tried to convince the jury of Gonzalez’s credibility and the now-11-year-old girl’s lack of credibility during his closing remarks.
The girl testified Wednesday that Gonzalez grew angry with her on Feb. 28 because she had not done the laundry correctly. He punched her in the left leg and side, leaving bruises, and then placed his fingers in her mouth, pulling on her lower jaw and tearing the flesh beneath her tongue.
Gonzalez testified Thursday that he hit the girl because she lied and didn’t do the laundry properly, but said he didn’t hit her with brass knuckles, which had spikes.
He said he had been working two full-time jobs as a cook at Twin Falls restaurants, as well as trying to start his own business delivering baked goods. It was on his day off when he became upset in the morning about the girl’s failure to do the laundry properly, he said.
Gonzalez also said he had drunk five to six ounces of alcohol before his confrontation with the girl.
“I was irritated by that point,” Gonzalez said, accusing the girl of having a big lying problem and trying to play him for a fool.
Gonzalez said he hit the girl in an attempt to spank her, but struck her abdominal area and left thigh instead.
As the incident progressed, Gonzalez said, “I smacked her three times in her mouth.”
When he saw blood coming from the girl’s mouth, Gonzalez said he stepped back and told her to go to the bathroom to clean herself up.
He admitted causing the bruising and the torn flesh beneath her tongue, but denied threatening her or striking her with the spiked brass knuckles.
“I feel regret,” Gonzalez said. “I’m almost disgusted with myself.”
Twin Falls County Deputy Prosecutor Kiel Willmore then questioned Gonzalez about what he did when he left the house, leaving the girl alone.
Gonzalez said he drove to a liquor store and purchased a bottle of gin, which he brought back to the house.
Willmore pressed Gonzalez, who eventually admitted he also went to a co-worker’s residence, drinking there before returning home.
Gonzalez was also questioned about discrepancies in his interview with Twin Falls Police in the early hours of March 1.
Willmore asked Gonzalez why he told them about keeping the brass knuckles for home defense if the police never mentioned the reason he had been taken into custody.
Gonzalez and the jury were shown the video recording of the police interview, as well as body camera footage from an interview with the girl after she was taken to the St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center emergency room.
Dr. Kathryn Reese, a St. Luke’s pediatrician and medical director of Children at Risk Evaluation Services, testified that she examined the girl 11 days after the incident and found bruising on her face, abdominal area and leg. The girl also displayed signs of anxiety.
The doctor explained how the injuries had the very real possibility of causing a brain bleed, or worse.
“She was at great risk of death,” Reese said.
Reese said children who have been traumatized through physical or emotional injuries will have difficulty remembering the chronology of events related to that trauma.