Tattooed Fresno boy testifies against father
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An 8-year-old boy took the witness stand in a trial that could send his father to prison for life. This is the first time the boy has spoken publicly about his father and the tattoo.
Enrique Gonzalez is charged with aggravated mayhem. He's accused of forcing his son to get this tattoo.
The boy got the tattoo a year ago when he was 7-years-old, on the only visit he had with his dad all year. Gonzalez says his son wanted the tattoo, but that's not what the boy said Tuesday.
With his eyes barely peering over the witness stand, the 8-year-old boy known in court as John Doe told jurors about the pain he felt when he got this tattoo.
"Did you cry when you got the tattoo?" asked prosecutor William Lacy. "Yes," he said.
"Were you crying because it hurt?" Lacy asked.
"Yes," he said.
Prosecutors say the little mark on the boy's right hip is a paw, a symbol of the Bulldog gang to which the boy's father and the tattoo artist belong.
The defense admits Gonzalez made a terrible parenting decision, and Travis Gorman shouldn't have tattooed the boy. But they say the boy idolized Gonzalez and threw a tantrum demanding a tattoo like one of his father's. The second grader repeatedly denied that on the witness stand.
"Did you ask for the tattoo?" Lacy asked.
"No," said the 8-year-old.
"Did you want the tattoo?" asked Lacy.
"No," he said.
"Whose idea was the tattoo?" Lacy asked.
"My dad's," said the boy.
Defense attorneys say the boy panicked when his mother discovered the tattoo, so he lied about how it happened.
"He didn't want to get in trouble so he made up a story about how Daddy forced him to do this," said defense attorney Doug Foster.
But the boy never wavered during his testimony. He stepped down to show jurors what's left of the tattoo and told them he tried to get away, but couldn't.
"What was your Dad doing when you were getting the tattoo?" asked Lacy.
"Um, holding me down," said the second grader.
Tattooing a child is a misdemeanor, usually punishable by six months in jail.
But because the boy says he was held, the district attorney's office charged Gonzalez and Gorman with aggravated mayhem, which is partly defined as intentionally causing disfigurement. A conviction could lead to a life sentence.
The boy is in the process of having the tattoo removed. He's already had three or four treatments and he'll need one or two more. He says it hurts sometimes, but it's better than having what he calls "a bad tattoo."
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