Testimony heard in Lexington's fifth homicide case of the year

Joseph M. Gonzalez, 21, was arrested by U.S. Marshals Service in Shelbyville. (Lexington Police)
Joseph M. Gonzalez, 21, was arrested by U.S. Marshals Service in Shelbyville. (Lexington Police)(WKYT)
Published: Mar. 2, 2020 at 11:59 AM EST
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Monday morning testimony was heard in the fifth Lexington homicide case of the year.

Crystal Howard was found dead inside a home on Shaftsbury Road in February.

Joseph Gonzalez is charged with murder, robbery, and two counts of wanton endangerment.

He went before a judge Monday.

Gonzalez could be seen shaking his head at times while detectives with the Lexington Police Department described the events leading to Crystal Howard's death.

Detectives said that Gonzalez set up a meeting with Howard's son to sell drugs at an apartment complex in Lexington.

Police say "Jiggy," as Gonzalez went by, asked to meet the son alone, but Howard and a friend came with him.

After the deal was done, Howard and her son got out of the car, that's when police say Gonzalez grabbed the third person and put him in a headlock with a gun pressed against his head.

"Jiggy threw the friend to the ground and, at that time, pointed the firearm at Ms. Howard," testified a homicide detective.

At that point, Howard's son tackled Gonzalez and tried to get the gun.

"The Jiggy suspect was able to wrestle free run around to the driver's side of the vehicle and fire two shots in the direction of all three suspects, one ultimately striking Ms. Howard in the left side of the chest," the detective said.

Howard's son and his friend took Howard back to their home on Shaftsbury road where she became unresponsive.

She was pronounced dead on the scene.

Gonzalez was arrested in Shelbyville the next day.

Gonzalez's defense attorney argued that the details leading up to the shooting were fleshed out, but once that shooting happened the details became spotty.

The judge didn't see it that way, determining that there was enough probable cause to move this case forward to the grand jury.

Gonzalez is facing charges of murder, robbery and two counts of wanton endangerment.

The judge also denied a motion to decrease Gonzalez's bond. It's still set at $750,000.