Jury finds man guilty of murder
A Comanche County jury deliberated Tuesday for the same amount of time hospital staff worked to save 2-year-old Jon Paul Gonzalez Jr.'s life roughly 100 minutes before determining Charles Weimer was guilty of first-degree murder by child abuse.
Relatives of both Weimer and Gonzalez said they did not want to comment following the trial, and the silence in the courtroom when Comanche County District Court Judge Emmit Tayloe read the verdict from the seven-man, five-woman jury was only broken by a few gasping breaths from the father, uncle and grandfather of the victim.
Weimer's mother and brother clutched the defendant for a few last-minute words and embraces before he was led back to the Comanche County Detention Center to await formal sentencing Aug. 6. The jury recommended Weimer serve life with the possibility of parole, which would require him to serve 85 percent of a 45 year term nearly 38 years before being considered for release.
Tears rolled down the cheeks of the Gonzalez family as Comanche County Assistant District Attorney Irma Newburn dramatically demonstrated in closing how the internal and external injuries to the child's head, neck and abdomen may have been delivered to the 2-year-old. She asked the jury to sentence Weimer to life without parole because Gonzalez suffered painful injuries at his hands "and he didn't lift a finger to help."
In the event they found reasonable doubt of the elements of murder by child abuse the death of a child caused by willful, malicious or unreasonable force from the defendant Tayloe told the jury it also could consider whether Weimer may be guilty of the lesser offense of second-degree manslaughter. The boy's family shuddered when the judge read the range of punishment for manslaughter a $1,000 fine and up to four years behind bars and there was a visual wave of relief when the court read the verdict.