CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) - The family of an 18-year-old man shot and killed in Carlsbad last July says they’re upset with the sentence handed down for the man who supplied the gun in the shooting.
Connor Mangseth is described by family as someone who lived life to the fullest, inspiring those around him to do the same. His mother said he would befriend anyone, no matter their background, and that’s what led to his death this year.
On July 23, Connor went to the home of a friend and 19-year-old Gerardo Gonzales, another friend, was also present. Gonzalez was already facing felony charges for another crime and was out on bail.
Gerardo had a gun, which he gave to a 16-year-old female who was also with them. She said she thought it was empty when she pulled the trigger, but there was a bullet inside, which struck and killed Connor.
Connor’s sister said it’s what happened next that deserves justice.
“The worst part is the things that happened after that. It was that Gerardo Gonzales and this minor left to go hide the gun, they created a false story involving two other gunman and they spent 20 minutes doing this instead of anyone calling 911 or getting help,” said Sabrina Mangseth.
Gerardo was charged with Accessory After the Fact and Child Endangerment. The Mangseth family said they are angry at the court system for how they handled these charges.
Connor’s mother, Maureen, said they got silence from the District Attorney’s office, then she got a call saying Gerardo had taken a plea deal, something she was not told about ahead of time. She said she feels like the prosecutor was trying to rush the case rather than find justice, adding that to her knowledge, investigators have not completed their investigation and have more evidence to review.
Sabrina started an online petition to bring awareness to the lack of communication during the case, gathering more than 6,000 signatures. A description in the petition describes Connor’s passion for life and the family’s desire for the court to take back the plea deal and wait to make any decisions until all evidence has been gathered.
Ultimately, a second prosecutor was brought in to handle the case, but the guilty plea remained.
Wednesday, Gerardo was sentenced to probation and up to one year in jail. Maureen said it doesn’t look likely that he’ll serve jail time. Sabrina did add that the second prosecutor did a better job of communicating with their family.
“Gerardo Gonzales himself, in the trial, said Connor was my best friend and for him to do that to his best friend, I can’t even imagine what he would do to a stranger, someone else,” said Sabrina, worried about the lack of punishment for Gerardo.
When asked for a response to the sentencing and plea deal, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office said:
“This is obviously a tragic case and we have been in very close contact with the victim's family in recent weeks as we continue to seek justice for their loss. Two defendants were charged in connection with this murder. The defendant who is not the actual killer pleaded guilty to both counts he was charged with, including Accessory After the Fact and Child Endangerment, with an agreement from the People that there would be no opposition to a local jail sentence. The second defendant, a minor, remains charged with murder."
The 16-year-old who pulled the trigger is facing murder charges and is next expected in court Nov. 9, 2020.