Tawny the Rock Chick here, your resident true crime aficionado.  As interesting as I find true crime from all over to be, it’s the local stuff that I can really dig into.  You could say I’m a bit obsessed with researching stories of murder and missing persons from this area.  I’ve spent countless hours reading old newspapers articles, requesting files on cases and sifting through data cases online regarding homicide cases that you probably didn’t even know existed.  This area holds more sordid secrets than you may know and I’m going to tell you about all of them, one day at a time.  It’s 365 Days of Texas True Crime and todays story goes like this…..

 

Michael Dean Gonzales made his first appearance in the newspaper on May 4th, 1990.  He was 16 years old.  According to the police blotter it was him who was the victim of a crime.  He reported the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, which just means someone stole a car from his residence.  After that he is in the paper for criminal mischief and burglary of a building before the April 22nd, 1994 incident that would land him on death row.  Michael Dean Gonzales, also known as “Spider”, lived next door to Manuel 73, and Merced “Bita” 60, Aguirre for years.

Screenshot of Manuel and Merced Aguirre
Screenshot of Manuel and Merced Aguirre
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On the evening of April 21st, 1994, he broke into their homes, brutally stabbed them both to death and then robbed them.  It was reported that it was an absolutely brutal assault, Merced was reported to have defensive wounds all over her body, on her legs, her hands and even the bottoms of her feet as she fought for her life.  A medical examiner in the trial testified that her stab would were “too numerous to count” and that she had been “basically butchered.  Mr. Aguirre was stabbed 11 times.  He later sold the items he took.  Because the killings took place during a burglary, prosecutors were able to charge him with capital murder. Under Texas law, charges of capital murder can be made if a killing happens during the commission of another felony and as you know the death penalty can be sought in a capital murder case.  Which is exactly what everyone wanted in this particular case.  On Monday, November 27th, 1995, jury selection began for the trial.  At the time it had been 10 years since Ector County prosecutors had sought the death penalty.  In Ector County the cost of trials of this kind have somehow overshadowed the severity of the crimes themselves.  It may appear to some that historically the DA has passed on prosecuting cases to the furthest extent of the law that would merit doing so in order to avoid the high cost of the trial.  In January of 1996 a letter to the editor was written in regards to the response from the public on the high cost of trials titled “Trial costs are worth the effort”…the author goes on to say that the Aguirre’s were some of the finest people you could ever know and that they deserved for their murderer to be convicted of their murder.  He was in fact convicted of both of their murders and sentenced to death. During the course of the following years Gonzales displayed some of the worst behavior the Ector County court system had seen thus far.  He continually disrupted proceedings with angry and irate outburst, on one occasion in particular when his wife was testifying during a sentencing trial that Gonzales had murdered the victims he interrupted her testimony and yelled “Same thing’s gonna happen to you , bitch.  I’m gonna fucking have somebody kill your ass.”  The murderer didn’t seem to be concerned with the consequences of his behavior and how it would effect the jury’s decision.  At one point when Gonzales’s attorney was called to redirect while Gonzales himself was on the stand he said “no man.  I told you yesterday why I don’t want you fucking assistance man, you won’t listen to me.”  Michael Dean Gonzales “Spider” has been on death row for over 25 years.

I looked up the addresses on Google maps and it would appear that at some point the home of Michael Dean Gonzales was demolished.

Screenshot of empty lot next to the Aguirre’s home on Google maps
Screenshot of empty lot next to the Aguirre’s home on Google maps
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