Crime

Fresno man sentenced to 37 years to life in prison for killing girlfriend

A Fresno man was sentenced Monday to 37 years to life in prison for beating his longtime girlfriend to death two years ago in a criminal case that has its share of bizarre twists.

Gabriel Rosiles, 32, said nothing when his punishment was announced in Fresno County Superior Court.

A jury last month convicted him of second-degree murder in the killing of 30-year-old Michelle Jimenez, whose battered body was discovered in the couple’s mobile home south of Fresno on Sept. 27, 2012.

He also was found guilty of felony corporal injury and having prior convictions for assault and domestic violence.

During the trial, prosecutor William Terrence said Rosiles beat Jimenez with a bat, whipped her with an electric cord and hit her with a metal shower caddy. Jimenez was pummeled for four to seven minutes and suffered 60 injuries before she died, Terrence told the jury.

Rosiles did not testify in the month-long trial, but his attorney, Ty Kharazi, told jurors that a burglar broke into the home and killed Jimenez. Kharazi also accused the Sheriff's Office did a shoddy investigation.

But Terrence said Rosiles’ statement, as well as those from his relatives, put Rosiles at the crime scene when Jimenez was killed.

Kharazi said there is mystery attached to the case.

Jimenez was discovered dead at the couple’s home at 3656 S. Cherry Ave. near Central Avenue, south of Fresno. Her death came a month after a father and son were fatally shot in the driveway of the South Cherry Avenue home. Killed in the Aug. 27, 2012, disturbance were Jimmy Oliver Sr., 45, and Jimmy Oliver Jr., 21. Jimenez’s father, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, her brother, Jose Mario Jimenez, and stepbrother, Michael Ray Pranger, were arrested and later sentenced to prison after pleading no contest to manslaughter in the double killing.

After the double murder, Kharazi said, Rosiles and Jimenez were threatened. But Kharazi said Judge Arlan Harrell prohibited him from telling jurors about the double killing because he said there was no evidence to link it to Jimenez’s slaying.

The case took another strange twist earlier this month when Rosiles’ brother, Samuel Rosiles, who testified on his brother’s behalf in his criminal trial, was shot and killed in southwest Fresno, Kharazi said Monday.

Fresno police say Samuel Rosiles, 31, and a friend had gone to a gas station at Elm and Jensen avenes. Samuel Rosiles was shot 20 minutes before midnight and died at 12:20 a.m. Jan. 1, becoming the city’s first homicide.

Lt. Mark Salazar said the shooting is gang-related. The case remains unsolved.

In court Monday, Jimenez’s father, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, who has been paroled from prison, called Gabriel Rosiles a coward for beating a defenseless woman.

The victim’s longtime friend, Stephanie Gaona, also called Rosiles a coward and said: “You can claim your innocence, but we have seen the sick person that you are.”

Gaona told the judge that the family is thankful that the jury had seen through Rosiles’ lies.

The judge said the jury got it right when they convicted Rosiles. Harrell said Rosiles was alone in the house with the victim, but never called 9-1-1. The evidence also indicated that Rosiles tried to clean up the bloody mess and left the crime scene before detectives arrived, he said.

And when detectives asked Rosiles who should they be looking for, Rosiles said he didn’t know, the judge said.

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