FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A second man has been sentenced after pleading guilty to the 2011 death of a Fort Wayne woman.
In November, Andres Gonzalez Junior pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for the 2011 death of Erin Justin. Charges of murder and removing a body from the scene were dropped as part of a deal with the Noble County Prosecutor. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison and will get credit for 256 days served. He will also be responsible for a $500 fine and $168 in court costs.
Back in August, Andres’ brother Victor Manuel Gonzalez admitted to helping his brother dump Justin’s body in a Noble County lake after she was killed in 2011. Victor got three years in prison for his role in the crime as part of the plea deal.
Justin’s body was found in Bartley Lake in Noble County in late July of 2011 by a fisherman. Police initially believed she had been camping. It wasn’t until March 2014 that police starting investigating the Fort Wayne brothers for her death.
On March 11, 2014, the Noble County Sheriff’s Department got a call from a woman who said her niece had information about Erin Justin’s death. Days later, an Indiana State Police Detective interviewed Colleen M. Gonzalez. She told the detective she is married to Victor Manuel Gonzalez, and that Victor’s brother is Andres Gonzalez, Jr. She said that in June 2011, Victor told her that Andres had him help dispose of a woman’s dead body by dumping it in a lake and tying it to a block to keep the body under the water.
When police met with Victor, he said he helped his brother put Justin’s body in the trunk of Andres’ car and drove to Port Mitchell Lake in Noble County, where the two had fished before.
On March 22, Andres Gonzalez told police he picked up Erin Justin on Bluffton Road during June of 2011 and took her to his garage where he attacked her. Andres told police at one point, Justin became unresponsive. He said the next day he called his brother to help him get rid of the woman’s body.
The details of the attack were alo presented during Tuesday sentencing. Andres Gonzalez brought Erin Justin back to the detached garage at his home. With his pregnant wife inside the house, Andres paid for and engaged in a sex act with Justin. Gonzalez said that after the act, Justin tried to steal his wallet so he hit her from behind, knocking her to the ground, and then kicked her. He then straddled her face-down body, and with his hands around her neck, slammed her head into the concrete.
Gonzalez apologized to the courtroom and to Justin’s family for the pain and suffering he caused, saying he was ready to accept the court’s punishment.
The judge took into account Gonzalez had no previous violent crimes on his record and that the death of Justin was not premeditated but committed in the heat of the moment. The judge also acknowledged that Gonzalez tried to keep the crime a secret, never calling for medical help but opting to dump the body in a lake.
Justin’s father, James Justin, also spoke briefly on behalf of the victim. James said Gonzalez will have to answer to God for the things he has done in his life.