Expert witness: Victim suffered seven gunshot wounds.

September 14, 2022

Carlos Sanchez listens to testimony.

Expert witness: Victim suffered seven gunshot wounds.

‘He got out of his truck; had a gun in his hand; and started shooting.’

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — Witness testimony during a preliminary examination Tuesday, Sept, 13, 2022 in Oceana County’s 79th District Court for a murder case against a 32-year-old Muskegon man accused of shooting and killing a 28-year-old man with a handgun last June revealed that the victim suffered seven gunshot wounds. A preliminary examination is a hearing to determine if there is probable cause to bind the case over to circuit court; a preliminary examination is not a trial nor does it determine innocence or guilt. 

Carlos Andres Sanchez, of 3860 Manatee Ave., is accused of murdering Miguel Angel Gutierrez, of 4357 Louise St,, Muskegon.

The killing occurred around noon in the backyard of a residence at 8537 S. Robinhood Dr. in Grant Township — the home of Crystal Ramona Gonzalez.

Judge Middlebrook swears in expert witness Dr. Jared Brooks via video conferencing.

Dr. Jared Brooks, a forensic and anatomic pathologist, provided chilling testimony about the fatal injuries Gutierrez suffered as family members in the audience wept. Dr. Brooks, who appeared in court via video conferencing, testified that the autopsy determined that the cause of death was “multiple gunshot wounds” and the manner of death was “homicide.”

Of the seven gunshot projectiles, the deadliest was the bullet that went through his chest and heart.

“He just got out of his truck; walked towards us; and started shooting,” said Crystal Gonzalez, who was called to the stand as the first witness. Gonzalez said Sanchez, who is the defendant, is the father of her children.

A love triangle — or rectangle — appears to be the motive.

“Carlos was messing with his baby mama, we were just going to talk to each other and get to know each other,” she said of the victim. “Me and Miguel were setting up cameras (at the time of the shooting.)

“He got out of his truck; had a gun in his hand; and started shooting,” she said of Sanchez. “He emptied the round.”

No words were uttered during the shooting, she testified. “I just remember seeing the gun in his hand.”

Gonzalez said she ran to her next door neighbors’ house as Sanchez fired the gun. Her neighbors were outside doing yard work.

Crystal Gonzalez testifies.

“I turned around because I heard an ‘uh’ and saw Carlos on top of Miguel shooting him.” Gonzalez testified that Sanchez was standing over him firing the gun.

She testified that Gutierrez was receiving messages prior to his death from the mother of his children that Gonzalez thought were threatening. “… something about how she could do harm to him without doing anything to him.”

When cross examined by defense attorney Julie Springstead-Waltz, Gonzalez said police found ammunition in her residence during a search. “It was Carlos’, because he stayed there before.”

When asked if she owns a gun, Gonzalez answered, “No.” She testified that police did not test her for gunpowder residue.

When Springstead-Waltz asked if the victim owned a gun, Gonzalez said that he was a convicted felon and wasn’t allowed to own one because he was on parole. Springstead-Waltz stated that Gutierrez had a prior criminal record involving weapons. 

Gonzalez testified that Gutierrez had spent the previous three nights at her home prior to his death.

The court also heard testimony from Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Micah Hintze, who was the first officer on scene. 

“I was met by a female who was understandably hysterical.”

Hintze said he immediately began rendering first aid to Gutierrez who was lying on his back in the backyard. The officer said he was dead at the scene. “There was no pulse.” 

DNR Officer Micah Hintze takes the stand.

Hintze observed a gunshot to the chest and an exit wound to his arm pit. 

Dr. Brooks said toxicology results showed marijuana in the victim’s system. No other drugs were detected.

Following the grueling testimony, Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon moved for the matter to be bound over to 51st Circuit Court on a more serious charge of first-degree murder and felony firearm.  

“This matter is charged as open murder, and it is very clear that Mr. Gutierrez was shot to death. I am asking the court to bind over on first-degree murder and weapons — felony firearm.”

Judge John Middlebrook bound the case over to the higher court but on the original charges of open murder and felony firearm.

“The state has met its burden of proof on both counts,” said the judge. 

The case will be set for a pretrial conference in circuit court. Sanchez is being held in the Oceana County Jail without bond. 

Sanchez with his attorney, Julie Springstead-Waltz. Oceana County Sheriff’s Office Det. Mark Hiddema and Lt. Shane Hasty stand in the background.

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