Former FBI agent Arthur Gonzales will have a third trial, and this one won’t end in a hung jury.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen and defense attorney Mark Gardner agreed Friday to let Judge Sarah Deneke decide Gonzales’ fate at the third trial.
A date for the next trial in Stafford Circuit Court has not been set. The lawyers estimated the trial would last about five days and feature the same evidence as before.
Gonzales, 43, killed his estranged wife, 42-year-old Julie Gonzales, at their Stafford home on April 19, 2013. He said he acted in self-defense.
Deneke presided over the first two lengthy trials, which ended with juries unable to agree on a verdict after hearing extensive expert testimony from both sides.
Gonzales had been charged with second-degree murder, which carries up to 40 years in prison.
But Olsen decided after the last trial to seek only a voluntary manslaughter conviction next time. That charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Both juries rejected the murder charges before being unable to decide on an alternative manslaughter charge.
Gardner filed a motion after the last trial in January asking Deneke to dismiss the case altogether.
He argued that two trials were enough and that Gonzales should not have to endure the emotional distress and expense of another trial.
Deneke on Friday denied Gardner’s motion, setting the stage for the attorneys to agree to a bench trial instead of another possible hung jury.
Gonzales contends that he killed his wife after she charged at him with a knife during a discussion that included telling her he wanted to speed up their divorce.
The prosecution claims that Gonzales shot his wife at least three times while she was on the ground, then staged the scene in an attempt to support his story.
Gonzales was working for the FBI at Quantico at the time of the slaying, but has since lost his job.