Sef Gonzales (born September 16, 1980) is an Australian who was convicted and sentenced in the Supreme Court of New South Wales to life imprisonment for the murder of his father, Teddy, 46, mother Mary Loiva Josephine, 43, and sister Clodine, 18.
After the 1990 earthquake, Teddy and Mary Loiva emigrated to Australia with their two children where Teddy carved out a career as an immigration lawyer.
The Gonzales family appeared to be close-knit, the parents being strict and devout and having high hopes for their children.
Later court evidence suggested that the Gonzales enforced harsh discipline on their children had they not met their parents' high expectations. In particular, Teddy and Mary Loiva had hoped that Sef would perform well academically (he was a student of University of New South Wales and stayed in Warrane College for a period of time), but he did not fare well in his HSC and performed poorly in his university courses; Sef attempted to cover up his academic failure by falsifying results, but when this was discovered by his parents they had threatened to withdraw certain privileges, such as the use of his car. At the same time, he had argued with his mother over a girlfriend of whom she disapproved.
This along with the desire to inherit the family's fortune were established by police as motives for Gonzales killing his parents and sister. On July 10, 2001, Sef Gonzales murdered Clodine, Mary Loiva and Teddy. Initially he claimed to the police that he had discovered the bodies when he arrived home, and that racist graffiti had been sprayed on the wall (later proven in court to have been written by Gonzales himself in an attempt to fool police). Gonzales managed to inspire sympathy from the public, particularly when he sang "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men at the funeral. However, around this time the police investigating the murders began to believe he was a suspect in the crime.
Later that year, investigating police were able to disprove Gonzales' first alibi when they were told of sightings of his car in the driveway at the time of the murder. He then constructed a second alibi, claiming he had visited a brothel at the time of the murders, but this was also proven to be false by the prostitute who he claimed to be with at the time. Other false trails included fabricating an email to implicate a business rival of Teddy in the murders, and staging an "abduction" to prove his theory.
The murder trial took place during April and May 2004. Apart from the above-mentioned motives, the trial had revealed that Gonzales had planned the murders for several months before they took place. Initially Sef conducted research on the Internet into poisoning his family which then led to an elaborate contamination hoax. His Internet searches were for naturally occurring poisonous plants such as Abrin and Ricin. The trial also heard of numerous lies to his friends, family and police surrounding his whereabouts at the time of the murders, which some feel was consistent with his characteristic lying. On May 20 2004 the jury found Gonzales guilty of the three counts of murder. He was sentenced on September 17 2004 to three life terms without parole, the sentencing Judge remarking, "I consider that the murders show features of very great heinousness and that there are no facts mitigating the objective seriousness of the murders and hence the murders fall within the worst category of cases of murder at common law." Gonzales is now serving his sentence as a maximum security inmate at Goulburn Correctional Centre.
In June 2007 Gonzales was granted approval to appeal his conviction and his sentence. The Supreme Court determined that statements taken from Gonzales by police on the night of the murders may be inadmissable, as he was not cautioned. On 27 November 2007, Sef Gonzales' appeal was dismissed as there had been no miscarriage of justice, and his convictions remained.