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Jury finds suspect guilty of several crimes in domestic violence case

Posted at 4:56 PM, Mar 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 14:24:29-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the past week, the family of Elizabeth Richards has listened and watched gruesome evidence in the death of the 19-year-old young woman.

The suspected gunman, her ex-boyfriend and father of her son, Joseph Gonsalez, was charged with several crimes.

During closing arguments Monday afternoon, the defense argued Gonsalez was also shot that day and as a 9th grade drop-out, he couldn't have had the wherewithal to carry out such a plan to kill.

Just before 5 p.m., the jury returned a verdict of guilty on armed criminal action, child endangerment and attempted armed criminal action. They also found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

The jury did not find Gonsalez guilty of murder in the first degree and or murder in the second degree.

Richards was shot last January at a south Kansas City home.

Months later, 41 Action News spoke with Richards' mother, Shayna.

Shayna Richards said her daughter was abused by Gonsalez. Richards even filed an order of protection after the 24-year-old man allegedly strangled her. But it didn't stop there.

During the trial, prosecutors laid out how Gonsalez methodically planned the attack that took Richards life.

He carried it out at his parents’ house while they were out getting coffee.

Cameras at a Home Depot recorded him buying duct tape the day before the shooting. That morning, police found Richards with her hands taped behind her back, tape over her mouth and she was naked from the waist down with a gunshot to the head.

Their 2-year-old son Jay was in the home at the time.

A sentencing hearing for Gonsalez is scheduled for Thursday, May 9.

The jury recommended prison sentences of 15, 25, 7 and 7 years on the different counts. The judge will decide if those sentences would run consecutively or concurrently.