Convicted triple-murderer Sef Gonzales has spent most of his adult life in jail for killing his family. Now he has a surprising request.
Convicted triple-murderer Sef Gonzales has spent most of his adult life in jail for killing his family. Now he has a surprising request.

Triple killer Sef Gonzales’ shock plea from prison

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Gonzales family murders, convicted triple-murderer Sef Gonzales is seeking a pardon from the NSW Governor General on grounds of a "miscarriage of justice".

Gonzales has spent most of his adult life in prison after being convicted of the 2001 stabbing murders of his father Teodoro "Teddy" Gonzales, 46, mother Mary Loiva Gonzales, 43, and his 18-year-old sister Clodine Gonzales - after their bloodied bodies were discovered in their North Ryde family home.

But Gonzales, who was just 20 at the time of the murders, has always maintained his innocence and now says he is asking for pardon "out of respect for my family".

"I just want to honour my family on the anniversary of their death. For 20 years, the way they died has been incorrectly recorded in history. I just want to set the record straight," said Gonzales, who is currently serving three consecutive life sentences.

 

Gonzales has spent most of his adult life in prison after being convicted of the 2001 stabbing murders. Picture: Supplied
Gonzales has spent most of his adult life in prison after being convicted of the 2001 stabbing murders. Picture: Supplied

Despite several failed attempts to appeal his conviction and sentence, the last of which was rejected in a NSW Supreme Court decision published in March, a royal pardon is Gonzales' final avenue for absolution.

The documentation supporting Gonzales' request for pardon is meticulously and fastidiously compiled, and draws a link between his plight and the case of Lindy Chamberlain, who was infamously pardoned in 1987 after being wrongly convicted for the murder of her nine-week-old daughter, Azaria, while camping at Uluru.

"I want to make sure that it's firstly about the evidence and about setting the record straight about what happened to my family," he said.

 

Mary, Clodine and Teddy Gonzales were stabbed to death in their family home.
Mary, Clodine and Teddy Gonzales were stabbed to death in their family home.

In a 20-page document, entitled "Miscarriage of Justice in the Case of Sef Gonzales", "grounds as to why the applicant has been unjustly convicted" are laid out.

These include refuting the Crown case as circumstantial and lacking in crucial forensic evidence.

The document puts forward an "alternate hypothesis" that the murders were a result of Teddy Gonzales' link to a political enemy from his past.

Gonzales after being arrested by police.
Gonzales after being arrested by police.

The Filipino-Australian Gonzales family migrated to Australia in the 1990s and were granted refugee status on account of Mr Gonzales history working as a lawyer rallying against the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship, the document states.

The family home where Gonzales murdered his family.
The family home where Gonzales murdered his family.

In the months leading up to the murder, Mr Gonzales had inadvertently established a relationship with a former rival and had received a threatening phone call.

However, the rival, who is named in the document is now deceased.

Other points of contention outlined include the court testimony of Gonzales' aunt, Emily Luna, who was called as witness during the 2004 trial.

The court heard Ms Luna attended the crime scene on 10 July, 2001, the night the murders took place and saw a figure through the darkened window, which she perceived was taller than her. Gonzales' contends that as he is the same height as his aunt this supports his innocence.

 

Gonzales leaving a police press conference. Picture: Mark Williams
Gonzales leaving a police press conference. Picture: Mark Williams

The application argues Gonzales had no physical injuries in the aftermath of the murders, despite expert testimony that the victims fought for their lives, and rebuts the Crown case that Gonzales could be linked to graffiti at the crime scene by blue paint on his jumper sleeve.

When the bodies were discovered, a wall of the family home had been graffitied with the phrase, ""F--- off Asians. KKK." Prosecutors argued this graffiti was planted by Gonzales to disguise the murders as a race-hate crime. He denies this accusation and contests there is no forensic evidence to support it.

Gonzales visiting graves of his family before he was arrested for their murder.
Gonzales visiting graves of his family before he was arrested for their murder.

Gonzales told police he returned to the family home to find the dead bodies of his family before making a frantic triple-0 call.

He later made media appeals asking for the killer to come forward and sang an A Capella version of the Mariah Carey and Boyz to Men song, One Sweet Day, over the caskets of his dead family members.

Gonzales' supporters have launched a petition on change.org to support his application for a pardon, which has accrued five supporters.

Originally published as Triple killer Sef Gonzales' shock plea from prison



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