Published DateLACONIA — Opening arguments began yesterday morning in the retrial of a Manchester man who is accused of selling heroin to a confidential informant working with police on August 23, 2011.
The first trial of Alfredo Gonzales, 47, of 363 Center St, Apt. 1 F , held in Oct. 2012, ended in a mistrial after the jury foreman met with Belknap County Superior Court Judge James O'Neill privately.
Before opening arguments on Tuesday, the jury was taken to the huge Normandin Square Apartments building at 22 Strafford St. and the property of the Sacred Heart Church of the St. Andre Bessette Parish to view the area where city police allege they observed confidential informant, Angela Shaw, meet with Gonzales and exchange $160 in marked bills for four small bags of heroin.
Prosecutor Carley Ahern argued in her opening that Shaw, working for the police to get consideration for a criminal matter, arranged to meet and purchase heroin in the foyer of the apartment building on the evening of August 23. She described Shaw as a member of the community.
She told the jury that as the trial progresses, they will hear how Gonzales and Shaw interact, how they knew each other, and how during their taped meeting, they will hear enough of the exchange that they will agree that Gonzales sold Shaw the drugs.
She said Gonzales "coughed up baggies from his mouth" and DNA recovered from the baggies would prove they had been in his mouth.
Gonzales's defense lawyer Mark Sisti told the jury that they will also hear that Shaw "set Gonzales up" to "save herself."
He said Shaw was working off a robbery charge but that even after she was rewarded she continued to be involved in criminal activity for which she has also been given immunity.
Sisti said calling Shaw a member of the community was a "misnomer" and said the jury will hear and decide for themselves that she can't be trusted. Sisti told the jury that Gonzales, who will testify on his own behalf, had been lured to Laconia by Shaw who represented she had some oxycodone to sell him.
He said the DNA was only on one of the four small bags — the one bag his clients tasted.
He also said the jury will hear how the two city detectives controlled buy operation that night was "sloppy." He said there will be no photographs of the car in which Gonzales was a passenger, no plate number for the car and no follow up on where the car went after the alleged sale to Shaw.
He also said she was out of their presence for a period of time and had gone up to an apartment at 22 Strafford St. before the "out-of-controlled buy."
Sisti said he would show the jury that she was not searched properly because the two male officers chose not to involve a female officer and the recording made by a digital recorder was "terrible, awful and indecipherable."
Calling this a very important case, Sisti said the "devil is in the details" and that the jury should question the motives of the confidential informant.
Testimony is expected to last two days.
Gonzales has also been indicted in a completely separate matter, for selling the heroin that killed Ashley Denty — the 22-year-old woman who was found dead in April of 2010 in her Union Avenue apartment.
Three others, Karen Mikkelson, Steven Marando and Amanda Kelly have all pleaded guilty to their roles in Denty's death and are serving or have served jail or prison time.