EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 29, 2013

Second man sentenced in brutal robbery

SALEM, Mass. - A Dorchester man pleaded guilty today and was sentenced to 10 to 11 1/2 years in state prison for his part in a Lawrence liquor store robbery in which the shop owner was severely beaten.

Jose Gonzalez, 30, pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery, two counts of kidnapping, three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and carrying a firearm without a license.

He is the second person to plead guilty for the crime during which Arturo Taveras, 68, owner of McCann's Liquors at South Union and Andover streets was bound and beaten on March 6, 2011.

Gonzalez was sentenced to 10 to 11 1/2 years in state prison, to be followed by three years of probation, by Judge Howard Whitehead.

Rafael Tejada, 43, also of Dorchester, previously pleaded guilty to multiple counts of armed robbery, kidnapping and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in Salem Superior Court. He was sentenced to a minimum of 6 years and no more than 8 /12 years in state prison, followed by 11 years probation.

In an impact statement written by Tavares and read in court today by prosecutor James Gubitose, Tavares urged Judge Whtrehead to impose a sentence that reflects the belief that so many people have in the future of the community.

"Please don't allow these men to escape into society. Please do not allow them to escape from justice," wrote Tavares, who still suffers from the effects of being struck on the head 16 times. He has memory problems and walks with a limp, and still lives in fear.

Judge Whitehead said the only reason he wasn't imposing more time behind bars was because Gonzalez was accepting responsibility and avoiding putting the state through the burden of a trial. "The level of gratuitous violence was significant and life-threatening. Mr. Tavares was fortunate to have a gun of his own."

The judge also praised the victim's impact statement, one of the most eloquent the judge said he had heard. "Very nicely done, Mr. Tavares," said the judge.

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