RIO RICO, AZ (Tucson News Now) - More than half a dozen trips to Santa Cruz County Superior Court for the family of Francisco Gonzalez have been painful, but the latest development in the case of their son's death has them more hopeful for justice.
Andy Miguel Garcia Muñoz appeared before a judge Monday, Aug. 13 prepared for a judge to accept his plea of tampering with evidence in connection to the death of Gonzalez. It's the first homicide investigation in Santa Cruz County since 2011.
Family of Gonzalez cannot believe that the only charge filed in their loved one's death is tampering with evidence.
"We wouldn't be here only for tampering with evidence," said Gonzalez's sister Hanna Sanchez. "My brother is gone."
Gonzalez's father spoke in court. Through an interpreter, he described finding his son bleeding outside their home they shared in Rio Rico.
"Leaving my wife and I in the deepest hurt," he said through the translator.
Prosecutors told the judge Monday that the investigation into this homicide is still open. In an email, County Attorney George Silva stated that they are "looking at the possibility of self defense as a justification."
That night in April, the two men were in the same car with two other individuals, according to public records. They state Munoz stabbed Gonzalez, who was then left outside not far from his home.
Investigators said Munoz ditched the knife and cleaned the car, thus the tampering with evidence charge.
Monday the judge rejected the plea, which means prosecutors will bring it before another judge.
Sanchez said afterwards that it was a sign to family that Munoz could face more severe charges for the death of a loved one they knew affectionately as "Kiko".
"We love him and we can't let go of him," she said.