, Salem, MA

March 7, 2014

Man gets 2 to 3 years for attacking girlfriend


---- — BEVERLY — He beat and choked her until she lost control of her bodily functions and nearly lost consciousness, all in front of her 4-year-old daughter.

And even as she fled to the upstairs neighbor’s apartment for help, Nelson Gonzalez continued his attack, slamming her head into the stairs and yelling that he would “break every bone in your (expletive). I’ll (expletive) kill you.”

He told her he had nothing to live for.

But the victim now wants no part of his prosecution on charges that include her own attempted murder.

She testified before a grand jury only after being arrested on a bench warrant, prosecutor Kristen Buxton told a Salem Superior Court judge yesterday.

And that’s why, despite the more than 67 years in total penalties he could have faced, Gonzalez, a 36-year-old construction worker, will serve just two to three years in state prison, followed by probation for three years. And during that probation, he won’t be barred from contact with the woman, with whom he has a child. Instead, he agreed only not to abuse her.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty to nine charges: two counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of assault and battery and a charge of witness intimidation, during yesterday’s hearing.

The plea agreement, reached between Buxton and defense lawyer John Morris, and accepted by Judge Howard Whitehead, is based in part on the woman’s lack of cooperation, Buxton said.

Beverly police were called to the apartment on Railroad Avenue around noon on May 3 last year by a neighbor.

The woman later told police that Gonzalez became angry when he found out she was on the phone with the father of her daughter. She told police he grabbed her from behind, slammed her into walls and furniture, then threw her to the floor and began strangling her until she urinated and nearly passed out.

She said he threatened to kill her, threw her onto a bed and strangled her again, hit her with a fan, and then followed her as she tried to flee.

A teenage girl living in the upstairs apartment saw part of the assault, and the woman’s 4-year-old daughter watching.

Gonzalez, who has been in custody since last May, received credit for time served. He will have to serve at least another year before he is eligible for parole.

Once released, he will be on three years of probation, with conditions that include taking part in a batterer’s treatment program and undergoing an alcohol and drug evaluation and any treatment recommended by his probation officer.

He’s also been ordered to have no contact with the teenage witness.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.