PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — “There’s nothing that I could say that could make this any better. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. … I want to apologize again for the hurt that I’ve caused your family.”
That’s what Ramon Gonzalez told the family of Pedro Valenzuela in a Multnomah County courtroom when he was sentenced for the 2001 slaying in Portland.
Gonzalez, now 38, described himself as a “troubled” young man who was involved with a gang when he shot and killed Valenzeula, who was 19 at the time.
Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Nan Waller handed Gonzalez a 17-year sentence for manslaughter and assault. Gonzalez entered a guilty plea July 31, 2018 after new information surfaced in what had been a cold case.
Luis Gonzalez — who is no relation to Ramon — also pleaded guilty Wednesday to the same charges. He’ll be handed a 13-year sentence on September 19, the Multnomah County DA’s office said.
The night of July 27, 2001
Shots were fired into a white minivan near the intersection of SE 82nd and Powell shortly before midnight that night. The people in the minivan — Pedro and his brother Luis Valenzuela — were hit.
Witnesses said the shooter was in the vehicle directly behind the minivan, officials said.
Pedro was pronounced dead at a hospital, but Luis survived his injuries. Valenzuela was reportedly an 18th Street gang member, officers said at the time of the shooting.
Seventeen years later, Ramon Gonzalez admitted being the shooter and Luis Gonzalez said he was the driver.
Luis Gonzalez also addressed Valenzuela’s family in court.
“First of all, I want to ask for forgiveness. I’m here as a new person and I hope this can bring you some justice and comfort,” he said.
Pedro Valenzuela’s former girlfriend, Vanessa Brown also addressed Ramon Gonzalez.
“I want you to know that you took away a father, a son, and an uncle who will never get to see his daughter graduate, have kids, [or] get married. You took that all away. I want you to feel the pain that I feel,” Brown said. “I hope that God has mercy on you for what you did.”
She thanked Luis Gonzalez for coming forward and talking with detectives.
“I’ve been waiting for this day,” Brown said. “Thank you for bringing closure to our family.”