By HEATHER CATHLEEN COX
BROWNSVILLE – The 13th Court of Appeals affirmed the June 2013 murder conviction and sentence of Rio Hondo resident Eric Christopher Gonzalez, who struck and killed a woman and severely injured her husband in a 2011 motor vehicle collision while Gonzalez was evading Harlingen police.
According to a statement released by the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office, “Gonzalez had challenged his convictions for murder, aggravated assault, evading arrest and possession of a controlled substance, but were all affirmed on Aug. 13 in a 32-page document.”
Gonzalez’ legal representative, Brian W. Wice of Houston had argued the following: ineffectiveness of counsel; errors in jury instruction; errors in admission of evidence; and illegal searches.
On the morning of March 24, 2011, Harlingen police attempted to stop Gonzalez, 34, for a traffic violation. The report further states, “Gonzalez instead took law enforcement on a high-speed chase that tragically ended at the intersection of Ed Carey and Hwy. 77 in Harlingen, where he passed a red light and hit the victim’s car.”
Maria D. Osornio, 44, was sitting in the passenger seat while her husband Javier Osornio, 50, was driving. Osornio was pronounced dead at the hospital while her husband sustained major injuries. The couple was reportedly one-week away from celebrating five years of marriage.
“We are very pleased with Court’s decision,” said District Attorney Luis V. Saenz. “The victim’s family suffered tremendously and continues to be impacted by Gonzalez’ actions.”
Gonzalez was found guilty of and sentenced for the following: Murder, 50 years; aggravated assault, 20 years; evading arrest, 20 years; and possession of marijuana, two years. Representatives from the DA’s office have stated, “All sentences shall run concurrently.”
Investigators have stated Gonzalez never asked about the victims’ state of health although he “made repeated requests for his wallet.”