On Wednesday, October 18th, 2023, a Titus County Jury sentenced 36-year-old Lee Gonzales to 50 years in prison for a Burglary of a Habitation. Jurors reviewed the evidence and heard testimony presented by the Titus County District Attorney’s Office in the trial that was presided over by 76th District Court Judge Angela Saucier.
After finding Gonzales guilty of Burglary of a Habitation, jurors also heard evidence of Gonzales’ numerous prior convictions that included two convictions for Burglary of a Habitation. Through penalty enhancements, the jury was afforded a penalty ranging from 25 years to 99 years or life imprisonment if they found Gonzales guilty.
The burglary for which Gonzales stood trial this week, occurred in May 2021. The burglary occurred during daylight hours at a residence on County Road 2400. The burglars gained access to the home by breaking a window. While there, Gonzales and one or more accomplices stole numerous firearms and other personal items. Most of the stolen items were recovered when found in the possession of Lee Gonzales and his girlfriend then 34 year old Santa Guadalupe Lozada when they were arrested two days after the burglary.
Early on in the investigation, Titus County Sheriff’s Investigators concluded that Gonzales and Lozada were both valid suspects. Sheriff’s Investigators teamed up with Mount Pleasant Police Department Detectives in an intense effort to locate Gonzales and Lozada who at that time, were already wanted for another burglary and were suspected of others. In the coordinated effort, officers were able to locate the couple holed up in a local motel under a false identity, where they had some of the stolen guns and other property.
The Investigation further revealed that another accomplice was involved who was identified as 30-year-old Luis Enrique Arrieta. In September of this year, Arrieta pleaded guilty to his role in the burglary and was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
After Lee Gonzales was found guilty by the jury in this trial, Accomplice Santa Lozada chose to go before the court and enter a guilty plea for the burglary. Lozada was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
Lt. Chris Bragg who heads up the Titus County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division would like to express the following: Our agency fully understands not only the financial impact when a family’s home is burglarized but also understands the emotional impact of this type of crime. While residential burglaries are often considered to statistically be classified as “property crimes,” we believe this type of crime to be quite personal. We would like every would-be burglar to know that identifying and locating residential burglars is a high priority for our agency. Additionally, the Titus County Sheriff’s Office fully supports homeowners taking all reasonable and necessary steps to protect their homes and families.
The Titus County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Mount Pleasant Police Department as well as the 76th District Judge and District Attorney’s Office for their work on this case. We would also like to express our gratitude to the jurors in this trial.