Gonzalez appears on child abuse charge, judge denies bond reduction request

FAIRBURY, NE — A southeast Nebraska judge isn’t budging on the bond amount for a man accused of killing a two-year-old child.

Jefferson County District Court Judge Vicky Johnson denied a request to lower the bond amount for 18-year-old Jake Gonzalez on Thursday morning. Bond remains at $15 million for Gonzalez, who is charged with child abuse resulting in death and terroristic threats.

Defense attorney Kelly Breen requested bond be lowered to 10 percent of $200,000. He argued that Gonzalez was not a threat to abscond.

The State, represented by William Tangeman, argued that Gonzalez is a threat to abscond because he fled from police earlier and because he has known family in Mexico that he could attempt to flee towards. Tangeman also argued that Gonzalez has attempted to manipulate and tamper with witnesses.

“These efforts have happened over the telephone on recorded phone calls," Tangeman said. "He has consistently done this. The State feels that, if he were to be released, there would be no limitations on these efforts.”

Johnson said the requested reduction was “certainly not adequate.”

Gonzalez waived his appearance for arraignment. He is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on June 17.

Gonzalez also appeared for a separate case in which he faces first-degree assault and weapons charges. The pretrial conference in this case was continued to June 3.

The child abuse and terroristic threats charges stem back to an incident on February 26th. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office responded to a welfare check at a Fairbury apartment building. A woman showed deputies to her two-year-old son, who was laying face down in a closet with severe injuries. Police say Gonzalez fled the scene when they arrived. The boy later died at the Omaha Children’s Hospital.

At the time of the incident, Gonzalez was out on bond on the assault and weapons charges. In that case, he is accused of shooting a man in Fairbury.