MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Hialeah man who was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon made a tearful plea before a judge Wednesday expressing regret for his role in a hate crime that will keep him behind bars for the next 12 years.
With his sister and two sons sitting in the courtroom, Luis Gonzalez reiterated that he was not a racist.
Gonzalez initially lied to police about the events that occurred on January 2nd, 2012. At about 5 p.m., Hialeah police found him bleeding from a gunshot wound to the head after he crashed his pick up truck into a funeral home.
When he was initially questioned, Gonzalez told authorities that two men in the parking lot outside Jerry and Joe’s Pizza had robbed him.
He said he then jumped in his truck and drove towards the men, one of them pulled a gun and shot at him.
Investigators identified the two men as Andy Alexander Jr. and Travas James, both in their 20s.
But Alexander and James told a very different story.
According to them, they were walking in the street near Jerry and Joe’s Pizza, when Gonzalez started shouting racial slurs and telling them to leave his city. They said at one point Gonzalez revved the engine of his truck and drove at them at a high rate of speed.
Alexander and James stated that in fear for their lives they ran for their lives. James, who was carrying a .25 cal pistol, was able to shoot at Gonzalez three times, striking him once on the side of the head, according to police.
In March, a jury found Gonzalez guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The victims of the attack were not present for the sentencing. But Gonzalez’s family sat in the courtroom. His sister Clara Del Pozo addressed the court and tearfully told the judge her brother was not racist.
Prosecutors were asking for a 30-prison sentence, while his public defender had hoped for a 5-year mandatory sentence. Ultimately, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat handed down a 12-year sentence followed by 5 years probation.