A Bronx court hearing for Jose Gonzalez, the suspect in the March 2017 murder of Paramedic Yadira Arroyo, ended abruptly Aug. 15 when he became enraged and had to be forcibly removed from the courtroom.
Ms. Arroyo, 44, a single mother of five, had 14 years on the job when Mr. Gonzalez carjacked her ambulance and drove over the Paramedic and dragged her body until he slammed into a parked car. He was apprehended at the scene by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Officer on his way to work.
For several months Bronx Supreme Court Justice Michael Gross has been hearing testimony from psychiatrists to determine whether Mr. Gonzalez is psychologically fit to stand trial. A defendant can be declared unfit for trial, subsequently receive medical treatment and then, if cleared as mentally competent, be tried.
News Channel 12 reported that Mr. Gonzalez’s outburst came after he told the judge that he was being forced to plead guilty by his attorney and he wanted to fire him.
Justice Gross rejected that request, at which point the defendant started shouting. After he was removed from the courtroom he was heard yelling at his lawyer, “I’ll kill you!”
Oren Barzilay, the president of District Council 37’s Local 2507, which represents Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics, was present with Ms. Arroyo’s colleagues and members of her family.
“His true character came out,” he said in a text message. “The fact that he said, ‘I’m going to kill you’ contradicts everything that he [Gonzalez] and his legal team have been saying all this time ‘that he is delusional.’ ”
Angry About His Future
He continued, “This is the outcome when you run out of tactics to delay the inevitable; this is what happens when reality sets in that you’re never going to see daylight and you’re going to spend the rest of your life in prison. His clock is running out.”
Mr. Gonzalez, who was homeless, had been widely reported as having serious mental health issues that required him to take medication daily, something he routinely failed to do. In addition to dozens of prior arrests, he had allegedly kicked out the rear window of a police van and at the time of Ms. Arroyo’s murder was staying at a city supportive housing unit where in June 2016 he allegedly assaulted a member of the staff.
Just a few weeks before Mr. Gonzalez allegedly killed Ms. Arroyo, he was released by Bronx Criminal Court Judge David Kirschner, who ignored the request from prosecutors to set $5,000 bail for a case in which the defendant allegedly assaulted a police officer during a robbery arrest. Before he was released by Mr. Kirschner, he had previously been freed without bail by Bronx Judge Laurence Busching in the case involving the assault on the homeless-shelter staff member.
Immediately after Mr. Gonzalez’s arrest in the Arroyo case, his behavior was reported to be erratic. He refused to leave his jail cell to go before the grand jury. He also told the arresting police officers “he was going home in a Maserati” and that he was going to give the officers “a Maserati and a million dollars” as well, according to a transcript of his conversation at the 43rd Precinct that was presented at an initial court hearing.
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