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Former Brooklyn correction officer admits to hiring hitman to paralyze wife

Army vet said he wanted wife to suffer for life

March 16, 2018 By Paul Frangipane Brooklyn Daily Eagle
George Gonzalez, who pleaded guilty to hiring a hitman to harm his wife, worked as a prison guard at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center (shown) for four years before he resigned. AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File
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An Army veteran and former prison guard at Sunset Park’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) pleaded guilty on Friday to hiring a hitman to severely beat and torture his estranged wife and her new lover.

Having since resigned from his position with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, George Gonzalez appeared in Brooklyn’s federal court in teal prison garb as an inmate. Gonzalez, 55, pleaded guilty to soliciting another to commit a crime of violence and gun possession while under a protective order.

After more than two decades of marriage, Gonzalez hired who he thought were gang members, but were undercover agents, to beat his wife and her boyfriend with a hammer to the spine. His indictment stated that he did not want them to be killed, but rather be “paralyzed so that” they would “suffer … for the rest of their lives.”

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“I know what I was asking, and I intentionally made this request,” Gonzalez told Judge Roslynn Mauskopf. “Your Honor, I’m sorry that I committed these crimes and I accept full responsibility.”

In planning the crime that was expected to be at his wife’s Florida residence, Gonzalez called his “hitmen” multiple times between December 2016 and January 2017 in addition to giving them photos of the targets. Recorded conversations found Gonzalez wanted the crime to “look like a robbery” and that his hired help could take whatever they wanted from the space for partial payment, according to court documents.

Upon a search of his Staten Island home two pistols were found in a safe, guns he was supposed to give up when he and his wife were previously slapped with protective orders against each other. The couple are in the middle of divorce proceedings.

Gonzalez faces a maximum sentence of 12 1/2 years in prison but his defense attorney, Edward Sapone, said he intends to argue for probation.

“He’s a man who served our country in the military and raised three wonderful daughters,” Sapone told reporters outside the courtroom. “Some serious problems developed at the end of a lengthy marriage and he made some poor choices.”

At court, Gonzalez told the judge he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from serving active duty in the military and continues to see a psychiatrist.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Artie McConnell said he intended to argue for a prison term above a two to 2 1/2 year guideline sentence at the unscheduled sentencing date.

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