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Parole denied for Tulare County gunman in gang shooting, wife murderer

Parole denied for Tulare County gunman in gang shooting, wife murderer

Tulare County District Attorney’s Office secures parole denials for two Tulare County criminals serving life sentences

@TheSunGazette

VISALIA – A lifelong gang member connected to a case that forever changed Visalia and a man who murdered his wife in Porterville will both remain behind bars thanks to the efforts of the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office.

On Jan. 17, 2019, Tulare County District Attorney prosecutors secured parole denials for two defendants serving life sentences in prison. In the first case, parole was denied for Salvador Castro, 48, at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga. On Jan. 31, 1995, Castro was involved in a rival gang shootout at the intersection of Ben Maddox and Houston in Visalia. During the incident, Kelly Scott, an innocent bystander and young father, was killed in the crossfire while waiting at a stoplight in his car. Though the shooter could not be determined, evidence showed Castro had gunshot residue on his hands. A jury convicted Castro of being a felon in possession of a firearm which resulted in a third strike offense.

In 1997, Castro was sentenced to 26 years-to-life in prison and continued to participate with the gang while incarcerated. At the time, the case was seen as a shocking instance of gang crime in Visalia and began several discussions on the issue of gangs in the community. Parole was denied for three years. This was Castro’s first parole hearing.

In the second case, parole was denied for Juan Renaldo Gonzales, 59, at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, Calif. In the early morning hours of April 6, 1990, Porterville Police Department officers responded to a residence regarding a stabbing. It was discovered that Gonzales had stabbed his wife multiple times in the presence of their young children. The wife died as a result of her injuries. Earlier in the evening, police had responded to a possible assault between the couple at a motel bar parking lot.

Gonzales was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 26 years-to-life in prison. Prior to this crime, Gonzales was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to two years in prison for killing a man with a pool stick in 1978. In 1985, he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon for threatening to stab a man in the neck with a ballpoint pen. Parole was denied for three years. This was Gonzales’ fifth parole denial.

The District Attorney’s Office routinely attends parole hearings and prosecutors argued against the inmates’ release in these cases.

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