BAKERSFIELD, California (KGET) – Authorities in Cabo San Lucas have one man in custody, accused in the killing of Bakersfield businessman Jose Arredondo. Prosecutors say Roberto Gonzalez played a key role in Arredondo’s murder, but Gonzalez’s lawyer denies that, saying his client is nothing more than a scapegoat.
Details of vicious Arredondo’s killing in July left communities on both sides of the border in disbelief.
Prosecutors from the state attorney general’s office in Cabo San Lucas claim Roberto Gonzalez was the last person to be with Jose Arredondo on July 15 at Arredondo’s condo in the popular tourist destination.
Eleven days later, police arrested Gonzalez in connection with the crime.
In a Skype interview from Mexico City, defense attorney Jaime Tacher says his client is a scapegoat.
“I know this is something common in my country, but sometimes just to get the good results or fast results, just frame anyone,” he said.
Prosecutors say Arredondo’s death was brutal. He was tortured, stabbed, right ear mutilated, a fingernail pulled out and was beaten to death.
Prosecutors say blood found on Gonzalez’s golf shoes and moccasins and blood in his vehicle was a DNA match with Arredondo.
Tacher claims evidence was planted, but won’t say by whom.
“I cannot say the police, but I can assure you it’s just someone who is just trying to misdirect the police investigation.”
Tacher says if his client were guilty, he had more than ample time to destroy any incriminating evidence.
Supposedly, an eyewitness — a security guard at the condominium — reportedly told police he saw Gonzalez walk into Arredondo’s condo on July 15 at around 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The guard said Gonzalez was wearing golf shoes. Tacher says that’s not true.
“I think [the security guard] is being pushed to say that,” Tacher said.
Tacher says, in a twist to the case, three days after Gonzalez was interviewed by police, Gonzalez went missing.
“Roberto was kidnapped for eight days,” Tacher said. “He was beaten, he was emotionally threatened, physically threatened.”
But it’s not clear who was behind the alleged kidnapping.
Tacher claims family members received a call from Gonzalez telling them his kidnappers were demanding $55,000 as ransom.
Prosecutors maintain Gonzalez made up the story. Eight days after the alleged kidnapping, authorities announced they found Gonzalez’s abandoned vehicle and then found Gonzalez walking on a street near his home.
Tacher remains skeptical.
“Walking on the street just like a regular guy, one or two blocks away from his home and they found him and they detained him that way?”
Roberto Gonzalez and Jose Arredondo were friends for nearly 25 years.
Gonzalez is involved in real estate and according to his lawyer, bought and sold property for Arredondo.
Gonzalez is a former professional golfer and the two frequently played golf when Arredondo was in Cabo San Lucas.
According to prosecutors, Gonzalez was the one who opened the door to Arredondo’s condo that night, allowing others to go inside and kill him.
“Roberto is being charged, not by the physical murder of Jose, they are charging him because he let in more people that they killed Jose, OK? So that means that the authorities should be looking for more people and they are not doing that,” Tacher said.
17 News contacted the attorney general’s office in Baja California South for comment on the Tacher’s claims.
In an emailed response, a public information officer wrote: “I acknowledge receipt of your message. I have forwarded it to my superiors for consideration to the information requested.”
A trial for Roberto Gonzalez is expected to begin in six months.