FDNY EMT’s alleged killer says it was an accident, blames her EMT partner
The courtroom battle over Jose Gonzalez’s competency to face charges in the murder of Yadira Arroyo continues
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — The accused killer of a beloved Bronx emergency medical technician unleashed a deranged courtroom rant Thursday as the fifth anniversary of his long-delayed murder prosecution loomed.
Murder suspect Jose Gonzalez, ignoring the advice of his court-appointed lawyer, insisted he accidentally ran over 14-year FDNY veteran Yadira Arroyo before blaming the victim’s EMT partner for the death and denouncing a Bronx prosecutor handling the case as a Satanist.
“Right now, my heart and my soul are losing because of a conspiracy,” railed the defendant, wearing orange and gray prison garb with his hair in braids. “(The prosecutor) keeps doing devil-worshiping. This guy wants to play with people’s lives. Hurry up and take me to trial, bro.”
Assistant District Attorney George Suminsky listened quietly as the battle over Gonzalez’s competency to face charges dragged on and the grim anniversary of Arroyo’s March 16, 2017, death approached. The suspect was arrested at the scene, with his claims of mental health issues spawning more than 50 prior hearings and repeatedly delaying a trial.
Gonzalez made little sense during his rambling appearance before the case was adjourned yet again.
“I apologize for all this propaganda and all this trash that happened,” he said. “I was hallucinating and I did not understand what was going on. I’m trying to ask for forgiveness. I accidentally, mistakenly ran over her by accident.”
Defense attorney Richard Barton told Bronx Supreme Court Justice Ralph Fabrizio that Gonzalez’s choice to speak was his alone.
“Mr. Gonzalez is making his own decisions,” said Barton.
The 44-year-old Arroyo left behind five sons after the fatal incident that began when Gonzalez, now 30, jumped a ride on the back of her ambulance. When she stopped the vehicle and climbed out, authorities charged, Gonzalez climbed behind the wheel and threw the ambulance into reverse.
After backing over Arroyo, he put the ambulance in drive and ran her over once more, officials said. The defendant, who also acknowledged he was high on PCP when Arroyo was killed, infuriated the victim’s friends and colleagues during his rambling declaration by alleging her partner was involved in the killing.
“One of her co-called partners was an accomplice to her death,” Gonzalez said without a scintilla of proof. “She set me up. She blackmailed me.”
EMT Jason Rosado, who was the dispatcher on the night of Arroyo’s murder, was outraged by Gonzalez’s unfounded claims about Arroyo’s partner, Monique Williams.
“I was very disturbed when he said that,” said Rosado, who attended the hearing. “That was very disgusting in my opinion. It was distasteful.”
In a 2019 hearing, Suminsky recounted phone conversations from jail where Gonzalez coherently indicated he was a fan of the movie “Black Panther” and told a friend he “could beat the case” by checking into a mental health facility.
As has become almost standard in the long-unresolved prosecution, another hearing was scheduled for March 24 after the suspect underwent a three-hour psychiatric evaluation this past Tuesday.
“Once again, we’re faced with the same adjournment for the same reason,” said Arroyo’s uncle A.J. Hernandez after the hearing. “However, we are supposedly making some kind of ground in the legal system. Hard to feel, difficult to see, when you get the same thing.”
But Hernandez said Arroyo’s family wasn’t going anywhere: “We maintain the faith, we keep showing up.”
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