Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
THIRD-STRIKER SENTENCED TO 110 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR SHOOTING AND MURDERING STRIP CLUB BOUNCER AFTER BEING KICKED OUT OF THE CLUB
SANTA ANA – A third-striker was sentenced today to 110 years to life in state prison for shooting and murdering a strip club bouncer after becoming angry that he and his friends were kicked out of the club for inappropriately touching a dancer. Carlos Rosario Gonzales, 38, San Jancinto, was found guilty by a jury Oct. 19, 2009, of one felony count of murder with sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a firearm and the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. The defendant has two prior strike convictions for assault with a deadly weapon in 1998 and carjacking in 2004.
At approximately 6:40 p.m. on Oct. 2, 2006, Gonzales and two friends were at a strip club, California Girls Nightclub, on Harbor Boulevard in Santa Ana, and were asked to leave after one of the friends violated club rules by inappropriately touching one of the strippers. Gonzales and his friends went outside, but refused to leave and insisted on confronting the woman who claimed she had been touched. The bouncers would not let the defendant and his friends back inside and would not allow them to speak with the dancer, eventually getting the manager when the three continued to be uncooperative.
A security guard, feeling that one of Gonzales’ friends was advancing on a bouncer, sprayed the defendant’s friend with pepper spray. A fight broke out between the friends, bouncers, and manager as Gonzales went to his truck in the parking lot and retrieved a firearm. The defendant returned to the group, where the fight was ending, and shot bouncer Michael Blankenhorn one time in the back, murdering him.
The defendant fled the scene and was arrested the next day while working at a construction site in Fountain Valley.
At the sentencing today, the victim’s mother, Hillie Blankenhorn, gave an impact statement to the court and explained that the loss of her son has been a tragedy for her family and her life will never be the same.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.