Teresa Smith had an enjoyable lunch with her close friend Julie Serna Gonzales on April 19 and was looking forward to doing it again the following week.
But shortly after leaving Smith’s home on Alderwood Drive in North Stafford, Gonzales was dead, the victim of four shots to the chest from her estranged husband’s Glock .40-caliber gun.
Arthur Gonzales, 43, an FBI special agent, is charged with second-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony in connection with the death of his 42-year-old wife.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen has claimed that Gonzales staged the crime scene after killing his wife and feigned anguish as part of the act.
Defense attorney Mark Gardner says the slaying was a tragic but simple case of self-defense.
Thursday’s second day of the trial featured the introduction of dozens of pieces of prosecution evidence, including cellphone records, and testimony from Detective Todd Nosal, who interviewed Gonzales for more than six hours after the slaying.
Nosal said that the 18-year FBI veteran told him he went to his home at 59 Alderwood Drive the afternoon of April 19 after having lunch with a friend, 23-year-old Cara Kast.
The evidence so far has shown that Kast and Gonzales were having an intimate relationship.
Gonzales and his wife were separated and in the process of getting a divorce, according to the evidence, and Gonzales was surprised to find her at the home that day.
Nosal testified that Gonzales told him that she was there to pick up some summer clothes. He followed her to the car and told her he wanted to talk to her about speeding up the divorce proceedings.
Julie Gonzales was calm when the discussion began in the kitchen, according to her husband’s story, but became upset when he told her he wasn’t interested in reconciling and didn’t love her anymore.
Arthur Gonzales told Nosal that his wife suddenly picked up a knife and came at him.
He described blocking her attack with his left arm and pushing her back with his right. When she immediately came back at him, he shot her two or three times.
Gonzales called 911 and said he performed CPR until rescue workers arrived, but Julie Gonzales was never revived.
Nosal said Gonzales cried and made the sign of the cross when he was told during the interview that his wife was dead.
Smith, who lives near the Gonzales home, said Julie Gonzales was a little distressed that day about not being able to see her youngest son on his birthday.
But Smith said Julie Gonzales seemed fine when she left and said she was going to her nearby former home to see the dog and to get some clothes.
Smith said Gonzales thought her husband was seeing someone, “but didn’t know and really didn’t care.”
Much of Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen’s opening statement and much of Thursday evidence focused on Kast, who Olsen claims Arthur Gonzales was “obsessed” with.
Prior to encountering his wife, Olsen said, Gonzales had recently learned that Kast was seeing another and was distraught about it.
Prosecutors Olsen, Michael Hardiman and Kristen Bird also put on several of Gonzales’ fellow FBI agents and friends who were aware of his relationship with Kast. Some had advised him to be more discreet about it at work.
But those same agents said he was clearly distraught about his wife’s death and told them a similar story to the one he told Nosal.
The prosecution has not yet explained how it believes Gonzales staged the slaying scene. However, Olsen said he expects to call a number of witnesses today.
The trial is scheduled for five days, but Judge Sarah Deneke said after conferring with the attorneys that it appears it will last somewhere between six and eight days.
Gonzales is free on bond. He has been on unpaid leave from the FBI since his arrest.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404