Madera child molester sentenced to 502 years in prison, while repeat violent offender receives life

A Madera man with a history of sex crimes was sentenced to 502 years to life in state prison Wednesday for child molestation charges, District Attorney David Linn announced.

A Chowchilla man with a history of violent crime was also sentenced this month to 25 years to life for slashing a male victim’s throat, Linn said.

Fred Gonzales, 61, was convicted of eight counts of child molestation with special circumstances after a trial that concluded in August.

Senior deputy district attorney Traci Wise led prosecution, and showed evidence that Gonzalez, who lived with his three minor-aged step-granddaughters between 2004 and 2011, committed multiple acts of sexual molestation by force, fear, and violence.

Due to two prior sex crimes against children, Gonzales was found to be a habitual sex offender and received the sentence of several centuries in prison.

Linn praised Wise for her great work in the case, as well as assistance from Madera Police Department Detective Mark Trukki, and Madera Community Action Partnership in assisting the victims and their families.

“The victims showed great courage in coming forward to assist in this conviction,” Linn said. “It feels great to get Gozales off the streets ... we wanted to ensure he could not get out on probation for a very long time. This will make it extremely difficult for to ever get out of jail on parole. I don’t believe he will ever leave prison.”

In the stabbing case, Linn said Cruz Sandoval, 40, of Chowchilla, was sentenced earlier this month to 25 years to life in state prison for assault with a deadly weapon.

On March 26 this year, officers responded to the area of C and Sixth streets in Madera in regards to a stabbing in progress.

Upon arrival, officers saw the victim, Valentine Cruz, sitting on a bench with his clothes soaked in blood. Witnesses said they saw a male suspect stab the victim, then fled on foot.

Officers searched the area and found Sandoval walking along C Street, then made contact with him. At that time, Sandoval threw a bloody knife from his jacket, which turned out to be two scissor blades wrapped in a white cloth and twine.

As he was arrested, officers saw Sandoval had blood on his hands. Cruz, the victim, suffered a laceration to his neck about six-inches long and injuries to his torso.

Sandoval pled guilty to assault with a deadly weapon, and admitted three prior felony strike convictions under California’s three-strikes law, which increases criminal punishments for three violent or sexual crimes.

His prior convictions included assault with a deadly weapon, and participation in a criminal street gang.

Linn thanked all involved with the case, including MPD Detective Alicia Keiser, Sgt. Tom Burns, and officers Shawn Bushey, David Herspring, Brandon Bianchi, Juan Goana, and Steven Boehm.