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Jury finds man guilty in meat cleaver assault

December 15, 2005|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

A Chambersburg man is facing up to 60 years in prison after a Franklin County jury found him guilty Wednesday of attempting to kill another man with a meat cleaver.

The jury found Andres Gonzales, 46, of 122 Buchanan St., guilty of criminal attempt to commit homicide and aggravated assault at the conclusion of the two-day trial.

Gonzales had been charged in the Jan. 29 assault on Christopher Stallworth of Chambersburg. According to trial testimony, Stallworth and Gonzales had gotten into an argument in a house at 272 Larch Ave. and Stallworth slapped Gonzales in the face.

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Gonzales left the house and returned a short time later with the meat cleaver and attacked Stallworth, striking him in the head, according to Chambersburg police records.

Officer Michael Taylor testified Tuesday that, when he arrived at the scene, Stallworth was standing outside bleeding heavily from the wound and he could see his skull.

Stallworth was treated at Chambersburg Hospital and then at York (Pa.) Hospital for the injury, but was released the day after the incident, a York Hospital spokeswoman said on Jan. 30.

Gonzales fled the house, but later called 911 and told police where he could be found.

"He repeatedly said he hoped the guy died," Taylor testified about statements Gonzales made after he was taken into custody.

"He stated he'd never been slapped before," Officer Robert Peterson testified about statements made by Gonzales. "He seemed quite disappointed he was not dead."

The jury also heard a tape of the 911 call Gonzales made, Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom said.

Although the officers said Gonzales spoke in heavily accented English, he chose to testify Wednesday using a translator.

Gonzales testified he was angry, "but I did not want to kill him." Under questioning by Assistant Public Defender Paul Rockwell, Gonzales testified he had the meat cleaver in his waistband, but did not use it during the second fight.

Gonzales testified that he believed Stallworth injured his head striking it on the floor during the scuffle and that the meat cleaver fell out of his waistband during the fight.

"I took it for protection," Gonzales testified when asked why he took the cleaver.

Gonzales testified he began drinking heavily after leaving the house and could not recall the details of what he said during the 911 call and to police after his arrest.

"That was the alcohol speaking," Gonzales testified.

Judge Richard J. Walsh scheduled sentencing for Jan. 25.

Krom said attempted homicide carries a sentence of up to 40 years. The aggravated assault charge, a first-degree felony, has a maximum sentence of 20 years, she said.

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