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The People v. Gustavo Gonzales Tafolla

December 12, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
GUSTAVO GONZALES TAFOLLA, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. CM027444)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Raye , P. J.

P. v. Tafolia

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

In 2007 the body of Myndee Rosado was found in an irrigation canal. An information charged defendant Gustavo Gonzales Tafolla with murder. (Pen. Code, § 187, subd. (a).) A jury convicted defendant, and the court sentenced him to 25 years to life in state prison.

We reversed defendant's conviction and remanded the matter for the trial court to conduct a hearing on defendant's motion for appointment of new counsel. The trial court conducted a Marsden hearing, denied the motion, and reinstated the judgment.*fn1 Defendant appeals, arguing the trial court erred in denying the motion. We shall affirm the judgment.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from our nonpublished opinion in People v. Tafolla (Mar. 8, 2010, C059642).

Rosado's former boyfriend, Michael Tancreto, loaned her his car the month of the murder. She failed to return the car and he never saw her again. The morning after Rosado disappeared, the car was found burning in a field.

The evening Rosado disappeared, she and defendant met at a friend's house. The pair discussed tattoos, and defendant showed her a booklet about tattoos from his backpack. They left the house together in Tancreto's car, and no one reported seeing Rosado alive after that time.

The morning after Rosado disappeared, a ranch worker discovered evidence of a crime at the ranch that employed him. He found blood on a piece of equipment, a backpack containing a tattoo magazine, a bathing suit, women's underwear, and a pink blanket. After the worker reported his find to his supervisor, he returned to find the backpack gone and the other items moved. The worker later identified a backpack found in defendant's bedroom as the backpack he found at the ranch. The blood at the ranch was Rosado's.

A few days later a ditch tender found Rosado's unclothed body in a canal about 28 miles from the ranch. An autopsy revealed 13 stab wounds. The number and placement of the wounds indicated it took between five and fifteen or more minutes to inflict the wounds. Rosado had methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana in her system when she died.

A search of defendant's room revealed the backpack, which contained tattoo magazines. Officers also found two knives, one of which was broken.

When questioned by the police, defendant acknowledged being with Rosado the night she vanished. He, Rosado, and another man drove to the ranch. The other man left the car while Rosado and defendant engaged in a sex act. Rosado and the other man then dropped defendant off at his home.

Over the course of questioning, defendant changed his story. The other man disappeared, and defendant told officers that he and Rosado went alone to the ranch, engaged in sex acts, and then Rosado drove him home. He ultimately admitted returning to the ranch to retrieve the backpack. Defendant denied harming Rosado.

At the beginning of the interview, defendant said that he remembered everything from the night in question, but later, when he was confronted with the inconsistencies in his account, he claimed he could not ...


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