On January 18, Arapahoe County Judge Ryan Stuart sentenced Julio Cesar Gonzalez, 25, to over two decades in the Department of Corrections for a violent attack on a popular park trail in Aurora.
Shortly after 6 a.m. on July 11, 2020, Aurora police officers were dispatched near 1st Avenue and Moline Street on a report that a woman who was exercising had been physically attacked by a man with a board.
Upon arrival, officers found the victim with substantial bodily injuries including wounds to her hands and head. She was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and survived.
During the investigation, officers located a homeless encampment near the scene where the attacked occurred. At one of the campsites, officers observed a black piece of wood and a black bed headboard which had similar characteristics to the wood discovered at the incident location.
During a search warrant executed at the campsite, officers found a criminal summons belonging to Julio Gonzalez from an unrelated incident. Authorities also learned Gonzalez was being monitored by a GPS ankle bracelet. GPS data revealed Gonzalez was directly at the scene of the crime on the day and time the attack occurred.
“While open spaces are for all to enjoy, we all deserve to feel safe,” the survivor of the July 11, 2020 attack said in court. “I’m always on high alert when I hear something behind me, fearing what could be another attack. No number of apologies could undo or right what happened to me that day.”
The criminal investigation also revealed a similar attack had occurred at approximately the same location three days prior, on July 8, 2020. On that day, a woman was attacked with a piece of wood while riding her bike with her two teenage daughters. The victim sustained injuries to her arm and elbow and was able to identify Mr. Gonzalez as the attacker in a photo line-up, aiding detectives in the investigation for both attacks.
“The evidence left no doubt that Gonzalez was solely responsible for viciously attacking two women who were utilizing the public trail, something they did every day for exercise,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Jason Siers said. “The victims showed enormous strength and courage to survive and we hope this week’s sentence brings them some closure.”
Assault 1-Serious Bodily Injury with a Deadly Weapon (Class 3 Felony)
Sentence: 20 years in DOC
Assault 2-Causing Injury with a Deadly Weapon (Class 4 Felony)
Sentence: 5 years in DOC (Consecutive with the Assault 1 sentence)
Menacing with a Real or Simulated Weapon (Class 5 Felony)
Sentence: 3 years (Concurrent to the Assault 1 sentence)
“There’s no justification for the defendant’s actions and we’re extremely fortunate that these injuries weren’t deadly,” Senior Deputy DA Colleen Greer said. “Physical evidence and technology ultimately paved the way toward justice in this case.”
Prior to the assault, Gonzalez was on bond in Arapahoe County for a March 2020 burglary case.
“The defendant’s aggressive and violent behavior showed a complete disregard for human life,” District Attorney John Kellner said. “People in our community deserve to feel safe at our local parks and trails. I hope this lengthy sentence restores some sense of safety and security in our community.”