Fresno father testifies in child gang tattoo trial

FRESNO, Calif.

/*Enrique Gonzalez*/, Jr., knows how painful it can be to get a tattoo. He has several, all over his body, and he got a new one on his shoulder right before his son got the tattoo that got the father in trouble.

Gonzalez says he warned the boy about the pain. "I warned him," he said. "I told him it's going to hurt and he said he could take it, 'It ain't nothing. I can take it. It ain't gonna hurt me.'"

Gonzalez is facing a life sentence for what happened next. He's charged with aggravated mayhem, which is partly defined as intentionally disfiguring someone.

Prosecutors say Gonzalez forced his son to get the tattoo and held the boy down while he cried through the process. The boy testified last week, saying he tried to get away, but couldn't.

"What was your dad doing when you were getting the tattoo?" asked prosecutor Bill Lacy.

"Um, holding me down," said the boy identified in court as John Doe.

Gonzalez said it sounded like someone programmed his son. But he admitted he encouraged the boy to let Travis Gorman finish the dog paw tattoo, even after the boy felt the pain.

"He was finishing the paws on top," Gonzalez testified. "I could see my boy, it was hurting him. He was saying, 'Ah Dad. Ah Dad.' I said, 'Just hold still. It's almost done.'"

Gonzalez also admitted he was a Bulldog gang member, but claims he quit after his arrest in the case. He said he set a bad example for his son and let his pride take over when the boy begged him for the tattoo.

"I was proud that my son wanted to be like me," he said. "My son thinks I'm superman. He thinks I'm the biggest, toughest guy in the world."

Testimony in the case wrapped up Tuesday. Closing arguments are set for Wednesday morning. After that, the jury will decide whether Gonzalez will spend the rest of his life in prison for what he admits was a bad decision.

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