(Allegan) - A bizarre case has reached a climax. Allegan County Prosecutors charged that 33-year-old Fortino Gonzalez of Chicago and two other men robbed Leon Villa in his Valley Township home last August, kidnapped him and his son’s fiancé, and attempted to force him to empty his account from an ATM. However, Villa jumped out of a car in the parking lot of the Allegan Secretary of State Office branch, and the would-be robbers dumped the unnamed woman and fled back to Illinois. Eight days later, Gonzalez allegedly came back with 32-year-old Omar Martinez-Garcia of Chicago Heights and killed Villa at his 121st Avenue home, but they were captured before they could make their escape.
Martinez-Garcia agreed to a plea deal just before their trial began last week, testifying against Gonzalez in exchange for agreeing to a 2nd degree murder conviction. Yesterday, a jury concluded six hours of deliberation by finding Gonzalez guilty of 11 of the 12 counts against him, including murder charges that require mandatory life without parole when he is sentenced on April 30th.
-John McNeill, News Director, Midwest Communications of Michigan, Kalamazoo