Walworth man receives 15 years in prison for bat attack on son

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Jonah Beleckis | June 28, 2017

ELKHORN—Walworth County Judge Phil Koss held up a photo of the defendant's son lying in a hospital bed with a bruised and swollen face after having been nearly beaten to death with a baseball bat.

“Do you not see this?” Koss asked Gabino Dominguez Gonzalez, who was convicted April 20 of beating his son Eduardo Dominguez-Beltran after an argument outside a strip club.

Koss sentenced Dominguez Gonzalez to 15 years in prison Wednesday.

Dominguez Gonzalez, 42, of Walworth, was convicted of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and aggravated battery with intent to cause great bodily harm in the 2015 incident. His lawyer argued at trial it was self-defense, but a jury decided otherwise.

Koss agreed with the jury.

“If the first blow was self-defense, what about the second blow? Was that self-defense, too?" Koss asked.

"Was the third blow self-defense? Was the fourth blow self-defense? Was the 10th blow self-defense?” Koss asked.

“At what point is he laying there, screaming or crying, and you continue to hit him?”

Assistant District Attorney Haley Johnson recounted the 911 call from a young girl the night of Dec. 26, 2015. The girl thought Dominguez Gonzalez had killed his son.

“You could hear the pain in her voice,” Johnson said.

Responding officers were shocked by the crime scene, Johnson said.

Dominguez-Beltran spent 10 or 11 days in the hospital. Doctors were unsure if he would live, Johnson said.

Dominguez-Beltran survived but lost some vision.

During the trial, a doctor testified Dominguez-Beltran had a “jagged piece of skull” pushed into his brain by blows from the baseball bat, Johnson said.

Johnson requested a 25-year prison sentence. A presentence investigation report recommended seven to nine years. Dominguez Gonzalez's lawyer, Michelle Dietrich, asked for five years.

Dominguez-Beltran asked for at least a five-year prison sentence, according to the presentence report, which Koss read from Wednesday. Dominguez-Beltran said he someday wants to resume a relationship with his father.

But Koss said he wanted to “show society that life matters.” Koss said he was perplexed how Dominguez Gonzalez could have hurt his son as much as he did.

Dietrich said alcohol mostly explains why the incident happened, although that did not absolve Dominguez Gonzalez.

Dominguez Gonzalez and his son, who was then 22, went to a strip club that night. After drinking, they fought in the parking lot when Dominguez Gonzalez wanted to leave and the son did not, according to the criminal complaint. The two then went back to the Walworth apartment where they lived and where the attack happened.

Some details from the night are missing because the two men had been drinking, Dietrich said.

In court Wednesday, Dominguez Gonzalez asked for forgiveness. Through an interpreter, he said he has had time to reflect on his alcohol problems and how he could have kept better, healthier relationships with his family.

Dietrich and Koss praised Dominguez Gonzalez's work history. He came to the United States from Mexico in 1999 and first went to Pennsylvania before moving to Wisconsin. He worked in agriculture and in a factory.

Dominguez Gonzalez said he would work 16 or 18 hours some days, and that harmed his personal relationships.

In addition to prison, Koss also sentenced Dominguez Gonzalez to 15 years of extended supervision, but Dietrich said that would likely be a moot point.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a detainer on Dominguez Gonzalez, which means he will likely be deported after his 15 years in prison, Dietrich said.

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