Gang mem­ber con­victed in 2014 killing

Killing hap­pened after re­lease from cus­tody

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - NEVADA - By Rachel Crosby Con­tact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@ re­viewjour­ or 702-380-8135. Fol­low @rachelacrosby on Twit­ter.

A vi­o­lent gang mem­ber was found guilty Fri­day of mur­der in a slay­ing that hap­pened shortly after he was re­leased from jail at the re­quest of an FBI-led task force.

Raul Gon­za­lez faces a min­i­mum of 20 years in prison for the mur­der of Eric Paul Mon­toya, a father of four, in Jan­uary 2014. Pros­e­cu­tors agreed to the min­i­mum sen­tence in the mur­der case be­cause Gon­za­lez is al­ready serv­ing two life sen­tences with­out the pos­si­bil­ity of pa­role for a sep­a­rate rob­bery case.

It was after a De­cem­ber 2013 plea deal in the rob­bery case that Gon­za­lez was re­leased from cus­tody at the re­quest of the fed­eral task force, which in­cluded de­tec­tives from the Metropoltian Po­lice Depart­ment. He was re­leased be­cause, Gon­za­lez told de­tec­tives, he was work­ing as an FBI in­for­mant.

Mon­toya was killed about a month later.

Metro had said Gon­za­lez was never of­fi­cially signed as an in­for­mant for any po­lice agency. The FBI said it was not in­volved in his re­lease from the county jail and he was not a source for them, even after Gon­za­lez’s de­fense at­tor­ney, Randy Pike, went to fed­eral court to fight for more in­for­ma­tion about the FBI’s role in the case.

“It’s hard to de­velop a case when you don’t have all the ev­i­dence,” Pike said out­side of the court­room Fri­day, just after Gon­za­lez was con­victed.

While the rob­bery case would not typ­i­cally war­rant such a harsh sen­tence, Dis­trict Judge David Barker said he took the slay­ing of Mon­toya into ac­count dur­ing Gon­za­lez’s Septem­ber 2014 sen­tenc­ing.

In court Fri­day, Mon­toya’s fam­ily mem­bers be­gan cry­ing as a Clark County jury’s ver­dict was read aloud. A mar­shal passed around a box of tis­sues.

Gon­za­lez was charged with first-de­gree mur­der with a deadly weapon, dis­charg­ing a firearm into an oc­cu­pied struc­ture and four counts of child abuse when he un­loaded five bul­lets into Mon­toya’s front door, fa­tally wound­ing him.

His for­mal sen­tenc­ing is slated for Nov. 16.

Las Ve­gas Re­view-Journal file

Raul “Sparks” Gon­za­lez, right, was con­victed Fri­day in the mur­der of Eric Paul Mon­toya, an in­ci­dent that hap­pened after Gon­za­lez was re­leased from cus­tody after claim­ing to be an FBI in­for­mant.

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