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    Aliso Viejo man convicted of killing former friend in Santa Ana shooting
    • October 19, 2023

    An Aliso Viejo man who shot and killed a former close friend, who the gunman apparently believed had sexually assaulted his longtime girlfriend, was convicted Wednesday of first degree murder.

    An Orange County Superior Court jury also found Carlos Alexander Gonzalez, 26, guilty of shooting into an occupied vehicle and the use of a handgun in the May 19, 2018 slaying of 20-year-old Bryan Steubing Jr.

    Both the prosecution and defense agreed that Gonzalez, then 20, shot Steubing to death, and that it was an unlawful killing. But jurors were left to decide whether the killing was a premeditated murder, as the prosecution argued, or a slaying carried out in the heat of passion and therefore a lesser charge of manslaughter, as the defense countered.

    Gonzalez and Steubing were in the same social circle, according to a prosecution trial brief, but had a falling out several months before the shooting after Gonzalez accused Steubing of raping Gonzalez’s longtime girlfriend.

    It isn’t clear if a sexual assault actually occurred, with Steubing apparently contending the sexual activity between he and Gonzalez’s girlfriend was consensual, according to the court filing. Others in their group of friends didn’t appear to believe the allegations.

    Weeks before the shooting, Gonzalez attacked and stabbed Steubing, according to testimony. And in messages exchanged among their group of friends on social media, Gonzalez wrote that Steubing “didn’t deserve to breathe,” adding he would “hit him where it hurts.”

    Steubing was sitting in his parked car in the early morning hours at an industrial strip mall in the 3100 block of South Main Street when Gonzalez shot him. A man who was sitting in the passenger seat of Steubing’s vehicle was apparently not hit by the gunfire.

    A friend of Gonzalez’s girlfriend told police that the girlfriend texted her the morning of the shooting and asked to be picked up at an apartment complex across from the crime scene, but said when they arrived it was Gonzalez — wearing a dark hoodie and armed with a handgun — who jumped into the car. Gonzalez indicated he had “shot the kid who messed” with his girlfriend, according to the trial brief.

    Gonzalez is scheduled to return to a Santa Ana courtroom for sentencing on Jan. 19. He faces up to 50 years to life in prison.

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    ​ Orange County Register