Disturbing details about Fabian Gonzales case could impact jurors’ mental health

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — All eyes are on the trial of Fabian Gonzales, one of three known suspects in the murder of 10-year-old Victoria Martens.

Cindy Schossow of Albuquerque has been following Victoria’s tragic and brutal death from the start. Now she is watching closely as Gonzales’ trial unfolds.

“Every day I will be there,” Schossow said. “I couldn’t be downtown, but I could definitely be on my laptop.”

The last two days have been disturbing, with lawyers revealing in detail what happened to Victoria. Shossow said it shook her to the core.

“When they were describing the mutilations, I literally cried,” she said.

She can’t imagine what the jurors are going through in this trial. Not only having to hear, but see body camera video and crime scene photos.

“I wouldn’t be able to do that,” Schossow said. “I wouldn’t be able to bear it.”

Schossow knows the pressure that jurors face, having recently served on a jury herself for a violent case involving the death of a person. She also knows the pain of jurors not being able to talk to their spouse, friends or family about the trial or how it hurts them.

KOB 4 legal expert Ahmad Assed said that however strict the rules are, they must be followed.

“It’s important because you don’t want to hear things, or dig things up, or dig up evidence on your own through this process and come up with the wrong conclusion,” Assed said.

However, Cathy Schueler, owner of Bosque Mental Health and a registered clinical social worker, said those experiencing the horrific events Victoria has been through could lead to their own trauma.

“It’s secondary trauma,” Schueler said. “It’s the emotional strain they feel hearing about someone else’s trauma.”

According to Schueler, secondary trauma can cause people to feel angry, helpless, and fearful.

If a juror feels too upset to continue with a trial, Assed said he can notify the court and be replaced by a substitute juror.

About Stephen Ewing

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