A 45-year-old Washington man has pleaded guilty to simple abduction, a felony, after a jury couldn't reach a unanimous decision on more severe charges.
Francis M. Gonzales pleaded guilty to the lesser count on Friday after a trial last week ended in a hung jury, according to the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office for Arlington and Falls Church.
Gonzales was accused of holding a prostitute against her will on Jan. 19 at the Radisson Hotel at 2020 Jefferson Davis Highway, Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Molly Newton told Patch.
Gonzales and the woman had set up a meeting, but things "didn't go as planned," Newton said, citing evidence presented in court. A dispute followed, in which Gonzales refused to let the woman leave the room. Authorities found the telephone cord pulled from the wall and furniture overturned.
The woman was able to escape and report the attack, Newton said. Gonzales fled, but Arlington police arrested and charged him six days later.
Gonzales has faced similar accusations before. He was convicted of rape in 2005 — in a case that involved him forcing himself on a private dancer, according to court documents. Two women who worked for escort services testified during that trial he had attempted similar attacks against them, court documents state.
Gonzales was initially convicted of rape and forcible sodomy in that case. The Virginia Court of Appeals subsequently reversed the lower court ruling, essentially stating in an April 2005 opinion that the commonwealth erred in allowing the other women to testify.
Rather than retry the case, the state and Jason Rucker, an Arlington attorney representing Gonzales, reached an agreement that ended with Gonzales pleading guilty solely to the rape charge in 2005.
That meant an Arlington jury this month had to weigh not only the abduction with intent to defile charge levied against Gonzales on Jan. 25, but a more severe "enhanced charge" due to the past conviction, Newton said.
To reach a conviction, a jury unanimously had to agree on either the enhanced charge, the initial abduction with intent to defile charge, or simple assault.
The jury could not reach an agreement on any count after two-and-a-half days.
"Given that fact and the case that we tried, we decided that the prudent thing to do was let the defendant plead guilty to the lesser charge … " Commonwealth's Attorney Theo Stamos told Patch.
Gonzales is slated to be sentenced early next year. His next court date is March 18, according to the Arlington County Sheriff's Office.
Newton and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Ben Traster prosecuted the recent case.