Probation ordered for assault conviction
Alcohol was a significant factor in the incident.
WORTHINGTON ― A Worthington man was granted a departure from the recommended sentence that will allow him to serve probation in lieu of prison time for stabbing someone in public.
Roberto Gonzales, 51, was arrested in February for stabbing a household member near Centennial Park. He was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon that caused substantial bodily harm, a felony, and interfering with a 911 call and domestic assault, both gross misdemeanors.
Gonzales pleaded guilty to the assault charge, with the other charges dismissed as part of the plea agreement. He received his sentence Tuesday afternoon.
Fifth Judicial District Judge Sherry Haley noted that the plea agreement asked for a dispositional departure from the presumptive sentence of 33 months in prison (the recommended range was 29 to 39 months). Nobles County Attorney Joseph Sanow explained that the reason for this request was threefold: it was consistent with the wishes of the victim, alcohol played a role in the assault and there was some evidence that Gonzales had acted in self-defense.
Defense attorney Amanda Delaney added that Gonzales himself had insisted on getting treatment for alcohol abuse.
"I'm trying to change," Gonzales told Haley. "I'm trying to find a job and become a better person."
Haley noted that when a dispositional departure is requested, the court must consider only the offender, not the offense. She ultimately decided to grant the departure, sentencing Gonzales to 39 months in prison with a stay of execution, wherein he will serve five years of intensive, or high-risk, supervised probation. She also ordered him to serve 150 hours of community service as scheduled by the probation office.
Although the victim had requested not to have a no-contact order, Haley ruled that if the victim wants Gonzales to be allowed to contact them, then the victim must make a safety plan with the Southwest Crisis Center and verify it with the county attorney's office.
The Southwest Crisis Center is available in our community to support and empower survivors of sexual and domestic violence. For questions about services or how you can help, contact the Southwest Crisis Center at 1-800-376-4311 or mnswcc.org .