An Oxnard man already serving a 21-year prison sentence for rape and robbery has been indicted on murder charges in the year-old slaying of a woman who was kidnaped from an Oxnard street, then raped and shot in the head.
Christopher J. Sattiewhite, 23, was indicted late Friday in the slaying of Genoveva Gonzales, 30, officials announced Monday. He is accused of murder, rape, kidnaping, use of a firearm and "special circumstances" that the slaying occurred during a rape and during a kidnaping.
If found guilty of first-degree murder and a special circumstance, Sattiewhite could be sentenced to die in the gas chamber. Deputy Dist. Atty. Donald C. Glynn said prosecutors have not decided whether to seek the death penalty.
In December, Sattiewhite was sentenced to state prison after pleading guilty to the rape and robbery of another Oxnard woman, who was accosted as she and her boyfriend relaxed on Oxnard Beach in September. That attack took place shortly after Sattiewhite was released from jail after serving a seven-month term for selling rock cocaine out of an apartment on Roland Way in Oxnard, according to court records.
But while investigators linked Sattiewhite to the beach rape relatively quickly, two sheriff's investigators spent more than a year assembling 900 pages of reports and following countless leads in the Gonzales slaying on Jan. 25, 1992, prosecutor Glynn said.
The key break came last month, he said. That is when another defendant in the Oxnard Beach case--Bobby Rollins, 22--told investigators that on the night of last year's Super Bowl, he saw his friend Sattiewhite hold a .32-caliber handgun to Gonzales' head and fire three shots.
The next morning, two fishermen found her partly nude body in a drainage ditch along Arnold Road, southeast of Oxnard. She had two bullet wounds on the forehead and one in the cheek. An autopsy determined that she had been raped and had died sometime the previous night.
Sheriff's investigators found her car in a theater parking lot in an area of downtown Oxnard frequented by drug traffickers. Gonzales, the mother of four children, had a history of drug convictions and her blood-alcohol level was found to be more than .20%--or 2 1/2 times the level the law considers too drunk to drive.
But Glynn said Monday that Gonzales did not know her abductors and apparently was a random victim. "She was kidnaped off the streets for rape," Glynn said.
He said Sattiewhite is suspected of driving while another man, who has not been charged, raped Gonzales in the back seat of a Cadillac. When Sattiewhite inadvertently called out the second man's name, "They agreed she would have to be killed," Glynn said, lest she identify her abductors.
Rollins met up with the pair moments before Sattiewhite allegedly fired the fatal shots, Glynn said. The third suspect in the case has not been charged but Glynn said the investigation is continuing.
Rollins had faced a possible sentence of more than 50 years in the Oxnard Beach case, Glynn said. After prosecutors agreed to seek no more than a 20-year prison term, Rollins agreed to plead guilty to the beach rape and testify against Sattiewhite in the Gonzales case, according to court documents.
Glynn said investigators have found other witnesses who can corroborate Rollins' story.
Sattiewhite is scheduled to be arraigned March 22 before Superior Court Judge Allan L. Steele.
Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Barnes said he and Detective Richard Gatling had identified Sattiewhite as a suspect months before Rollins came forward. "We had bits and pieces," he said. "We were close but there was not enough there to get a filing. . . . In the last month or so, it's all come together."