City of York homicide suspect was livid over infidelity and infrequently carried a gun, criticism says crime

Luca Robinson | Wisconsin State Journal

A 71-year-old was arrested Monday in Delaware for the murder of a woman in the city of York earlier this year, authorities said.

Jose Luis Gonzalez Sr., of Waterloo, is charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of Dora Gonzalez-Zarate, 39, a farm worker who was found at her home with a fatal gunshot wound to the head on May 24, according to court records. Gonzalez went to Delaware days after the murder, despite authorities seizing guns from his home and investigating his possible links to the 39-year-old’s death.

A criminal complaint was filed against Gonzalez Friday for the murder of Gonzalez-Zarate, which was sealed Friday and unsealed Tuesday.

Investigators began investigating Gonzalez the day the victim’s body was found by her brother-in-law.

According to the complaint:

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Witnesses working with Gonzalez-Zarate allegedly saw Gonzalez’s vehicle in front of the trailer she was living in hours before her body was found. The two had a romantic relationship.

Other witnesses told investigators that Gonzalez was angry with Gonzalez-Zarate for cheating on him and that Gonzalez once played with a gun in her apartment around her children. Gonzalez-Zarate’s son also told investigators that Gonzalez walked around with a pistol holstered at his waist and “appeared dangerous”.

That night, authorities monitored Gonzalez’s Waterloo residence and later dragged him over to Jefferson County on Highway 26. During the traffic stop, Gonzalez, who was traveling with his wife and grandchildren, denied having been at Gonzalez-Zarate’s apartment. Cell phone records later pulled by investigators revealed that Gonzalez’s phone was at Gonzalez-Zarate’s home between 10:40 a.m. and 11 a.m. that day, about 2½ hours before her body was found. Text messages between the two days before the murder showed Gonzalez-Zarate telling Gonzalez that she was afraid of him. The 39-year-old wrote to him: “I hope that I will not be killed.”

Gonzalez-Zarate said someone followed her last night and feared for her life because she “had to do something” for her children.

On May 25, authorities searched the Gonzalez home where they found eight firearms, six of which were sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab for testing.

Days after the murder, and despite law enforcement’s continued interest in his possible connections to the crime, Gonzalez left Wisconsin to travel to Delaware with his family.

After finally finding a probable cause for Gonzalez’s arrest, Dane County authorities traveled to Delaware to arrest him Monday. The 71-year-old declined to contest his extradition to Wisconsin and is scheduled to be returned to Dane County, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

He was being held at Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown, Delaware.

Authorities are asking anyone who knew Gonzalez-Zarate or was in contact with her in the weeks before her death to contact the sheriff’s office at 608-284-6900.

Remembering the 1996 fire that destroyed Madison’s Hotel Washington

Hotel Washington before the fire

The front of the Hotel Washington on West Washington Avenue in Madison before the fire.


JOSEPH W. JACKSON III, State Gazette

Club de Wash before the fire

Club de Wash before the fire

The Club de Wash was the venue for concerts at the Hotel Washington. The Hotel Washington was destroyed by fire in 1996. This photo, released earlier this year, shows alt-rock trio Ben Folds Five performing a sold-out show at the venue.


CAROLYN PFLASTERER – State Gazette

Fire in the Washington Hotel

Fire in the Washington Hotel

Fire engines were deployed on West Washington Avenue on February 18, 1996 to help fight the Hotel Washington fire.


JOSEPH W. JACKSON III, STATE JOURNAL

Fire in the Washington Hotel

Fire in the Washington Hotel

A crowd gathers on West Washington Avenue around 8 a.m. on February 18, 1996 to watch as a violent, fast-moving fire engulfs the Hotel Washington. The fire department was called at around 6:15 am and additional firefighters arrived at 6:28 am.


Joseph W. Jackson III, State Gazette

Fire in the Washington Hotel

Fire in the Washington Hotel

The Hotel Washington was destroyed by fire on February 18, 1996.


Archive of the state newspapers

Fire in the Washington Hotel

Fire in the Washington Hotel

Smoke from the burning Hotel Washington dotted the Madison skyline on the morning of February 18, 1996. Madison’s old depot is on the bottom left. The Dane County Mental Health Center is on the bottom right.


Scott Seid, State Journal Archives

Hotel Washington in ruins

Hotel Washington in ruins

Firefighters try to put out the fire at the Hotel Washington after most of the building collapsed on February 18, 1996.


COURTESY OF WISCONSIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY – ID#112728

People watch as the Washington Hotel bursts into flames

People watch as the Washington Hotel bursts into flames

A small group of people watch as a fire destroys the Washington Hotel on February 18, 1996.


COURTESY OF WISCONSIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY – ID#112724

Fire in the Washington Hotel

Fire in the Washington Hotel

Firefighters at the Washington Hotel fire on February 18, 1996.


The capital time

Fire in the Washington Hotel

Fire in the Washington Hotel

Firefighters battle the blaze at the Washington Hotel.

fighting the fire

fighting the fire

The Hotel Washington burned down on February 18, 1996.


Image 76261 from the Wisconsin Historical Society

Delete hotspot

Delete hotspot

Amidst the charred debris and ice-covered trees and fences, a Madison firefighter extinguishes a hot spot near the remains of the Washington Hotel on FEb. 19th, 1996.


Scott Seid, State Journal

friends hug

friends hug

Friends embrace as they tour the remains of the Hotel Washington on February 18, 1996.


Capital Times Archives

Ice cold water

Ice cold water

The Citgo gas station next to the Hotel Washington becomes an icicle palace.


The capital time

Fire in the Washington Hotel

Fire in the Washington Hotel

Fire hoses play on the rubble of the historic Washington Hotel on February 18, 1996.


Capital Times

Fire damage in the Barber’s Closet

Fire damage in the Barber's Closet

A fire on February 18, 1996 destroyed the Hotel Washington, including the Barber’s Closet.


COURTESY OF WISCONSIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY – ID#112723

Hotel Washington flowers

Hotel Washington flowers

Among those mourning the loss of the Hotel Washington on February 19, 1996 were two people who left flowers on a fence surrounding his remains. The card reads ‘Dear Hotel, Dear Rod’s & Barber’s Closet & New Bar. We love and miss you. Kay & Shelley.”


Scott Seid, State Journal

Burned out hotel with a flag

Burned out hotel with a flag

A rainbow flag, the symbol of gay and lesbian identity, flies over the charred remains of the Washington Hotel on February 20, 1996.


Capital Times Archives

Vigil at the Hotel Washington

Vigil at the Hotel Washington

Sue Filo, Amy Udelhofen and Mandy Woods, left to right, joined more than 500 people in front of the Capitol for a vigil for the Hotel Washington on February 19, 1996.


Joseph W. Jackson III, State Gazette

Hotel Washington service

Hotel Washington service

Rev. Diane Reistroffer of the University United Methodist Church leads friends of the Hotel Washington to a song and memorial service on February 18, 1996.


Capital Times

fire investigator

fire investigator

Fire inspectors examine the ruins of the Washington Hotel.


The capital time

Save what they can

Save what they can

Company employees at the Hotel Washington load everything they could salvage into a U-Haul truck on February 19, 1996.


Scott Seid, State Journal

Steps of the Washington Hotel

Steps of the Washington Hotel

A set of steps is all that remains of the burned and wrecked Hotel Washington on March 6, 1996, where an emptied ashtray caused the $2 million fire on February 18, 1996.


Carolyn cobbler, State Gazette

Front page of the State Journal, February 19, 1996

Front page of the State Journal, February 19, 1996

Front page of the State Journal, February 19, 1996

State Journal reporting February 19, 1996

State Journal reporting February 19, 1996

State Journal reporting February 19, 1996

Reporting in the State Gazette on February 19, 1996

State Journal reporting February 19, 1996

Reporting in the State Gazette on February 19, 1996

Trump Hotel, 1906

Trump Hotel, 1906

A view across a dirt road to the Hotel Trumpf, 636 W. Washington Ave. The entrance is at the corner of the building to the crossroads. Originally called the Madison House, the wooden hotel caught fire in 1906 and was rebuilt as a brick building by owner EG Trumpf and renamed the Hotel Trumpf. In 1916 the hotel was sold to August Harbort and renamed the Hotel Washington.


Image 109446 from the Wisconsin Historical Society

Hotel Washington in 1935

Hotel Washington in 1935

Exterior view from the street of the Hotel Washington, 636 W. Washington Ave., on April 21, 1935.


Image 4118 of the Wisconsin Historical Society

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