Terre Haute man gets 87.5 years in murder case

John Hosea Gonzalez

A Terre Haute man received an 87 1/2-year prison sentence today on his August murder conviction in the January 2020 bludgeoning death of a Greencastle woman.

John Hosea Gonzalez, 30, received a 65-year sentence for the murder of 44-year-old Lisa Attkisson.

Judge Denny Bridges added a 20-year habitual offender enhancement, and Gonzalez also received concurrent 2.5-year sentences for theft of a car and theft of a handgun.

Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter argued for the aggravated sentence of 65 years for the murder conviction by pointing out that Gonzalez not only shot Attkisson, but also recorded a video of her pleading for her life.

“It’s more vicious than I’ve ever seen,” Bookwalter said after the hearing, referring to the video of the murder.

Attkisson’s family made statements during the hour-long hearing about the harm Gonzalez has caused to their family.

Gonzalez said he plans to appeal his conviction and sentencing.

At trial, Gonzalez had taken the witness stand in his own defense and admitted to shooting Attkisson in the abdomen in the bedroom of her Greencastle home hours after smoking methamphetamine together. Attkisson’s body was found in her home Jan. 29 by her adult son.

Dr. Roland Kohr, the forensic pathologist who performed Attkisson’s autopsy, testified the woman died of blunt force trauma to her head after being severely beaten. Kohr said the beating killed her before the bullet wound, which would also have been fatal.

Video recovered from Gonzalez’s cell phone showed Attkisson in her bedroom with a bullet wound in her abdomen, begging Gonzalez to help her.

Gonzalez testified he had a brief relationship with Attkisson, living with her for a few weeks in the fall of 2019, then returning to her home for a few days in January 2020.

Following the fatal incident, police said, Gonzalez took the woman’s car, credit cards, identification and her pink and silver handgun that he used to shoot her. Police recovered a cell phone after Gonzalez sold it at a kiosk in Terre Haute.

Police in Rock Island, Illinois, found Gonzalez near Attkisson’s abandoned Ford Escape.

Following his conviction on the murder charge, Gonzalez admitted to being a habitual offender, having felony convictions in December 2015 for robbery in Fountain County, and for sexual battery in July 2012 in Vigo County.

A jury trial for Gonzalez remains set for Nov. 1 in Vigo County on a felony charge of battery resulting in serious bodily injury, stemming from an August 2015 incident.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.

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Lisa Trigg has been a reporter at the Tribune-Star since 2009. With more than 30 years of newspaper experience, she now covers general news with a focus on crime and courts.