January 28, 2011
Valerie Gonzales admits to using a screw driver to stab her boyfriend, 67-year-old Eugene Lewis, to death. Friday, a Reno County Judge sentenced her to ten years in prison as part of a plea agreement. Gonzales has pleaded 'no contest' to second degree reckless murder.
Hutchinson Police found Lewis' body in a used car lot in January 2007.
"When the defendant agreed to accept responsibility for the death of Eugene Lewis and take a sentence that's a decade in jail, we agreed to follow that. It's in the interest of justice, and that's what we did," said Senior Assistant Reno County District Attorney Stephen Maxwell.
Gonzales claims she believed Lewis was molesting her grandchildren the night she killed him, which is why she stabbed him to death. Investigators say Lewis wasn't guilty of the accusations, but both parties still brought that fact before the Judge as he determined Gonzales' sentence.
"Although it's not an excuse for murder, it is one factor to consider when you determine someone's sentence," said Maxwell.
"That's no excuse, but these are the facts and circumstances that surrounded this event," said Gonzales' Attorney, Alice Osburn.
Other circumstances include alleged drug and alcohol use by everyone involved the night of the murder.
"Her judgment was affected by abuse of alcohol and drugs that night," said Osburn.
Prosecutors say they're also happy to finally nail down a sentence, as a critical witness in the case is still missing after fleeing to Mexico months after the killing. The case was dismissed in 2007 when it was discovered that the witness was gone, before prosecutors decided to file the charges again.
"We had a lot of difficulty in prosecuting this case, and the state is satisfied that justice was done that the defendant is now in prison for a decade, and that she is paying the price for killing Mr. Lewis," said Maxwell.
Gonzales will receive credit for the time she has already served in prison, meaning she is only sentenced to serve about eight more years behind bars.
A Hutchinson woman has been sentenced to ten years in prison in the death of her boyfriend. A Reno County judge sentenced Valerie Gonzales this morning.
Gonzales pleaded no contest to second degree murder in the January, 2007 death of Eugene Lewis. Investigators said Gonzales stabbed Lewis several times with a screwdriver, then left his body at a used car lot.
Prosecutors asked for the 10-year sentence. With the time she's already served, Gonzales faces another eight years in prison.