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Convicted robber wins parole
Andrew Gonzalez parole
Andrew Gonzalez has been okayed for parole.

Convicted armed robber Andrew Jason Gonzalez, 38, of Merced was found suitable for parole during a Feb. 17 hearing of the State Board of Parole Hearings held at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga.

It was Gonzalez’s first parole consideration hearing.

Between June and October of 2008, Gonzalez used a gun to rob eight businesses in Ceres, Modesto and Turlock. He committed a total of 27 robberies in Stanislaus and neighboring counties.

Gonzalez earned the moniker of the “Band-Aid Bandit” because he always wore a Band-Aid under his left eye during the robberies. After his arrest it was revealed that the Band-Aid was used to hide a mole on his face.

On Sept. 3, 2010, Gonzalez pled “no contest” to eight counts of robbery and admitted personally using a firearm in each crime. Stanislaus County Superior Judge Timothy Salter sentenced Gonzalez to serve 28 years in state prison.

The parole will be reviewed and if passed will be forwarded to Gov. Gavin Newsom who can reverse it or let it stand.

Since going to prison, Gonzalez has regularly violated prison rules including refusal to work, disobeying orders, and testing positive for controlled substances. In 2017, Gonzales and another inmate attacked a fellow inmate and gang member, stabbing the victim multiple times. At the parole hearing, Gonzalez accepted responsibility for his crimes, expressed remorse for what he did and discussed the extensive programming he has engaged in over the last 14 years to address his criminality.

Deputy District Attorney Holly MacKinnon argued that Gonzalez should stay locked up, that he needed further substance abuse and gang prevention programming and has inadequate parole plans. She noted that a recent psychologist evaluated Gonzalez and feels that he continues to pose a higher moderate risk of committing future violent acts if released. The psychologist found it concerning that Gonzalez exhibited such a callous disregard for life in committing his life crimes as well as acts of violence while in prison.

The Parole Board disagreed and granted Gonzalez parole. They found that he was being honest about his chaotic childhood and substance abuse issues, and how both contributed to his life of crime. The board noted that since the brutal 2017 attack on a fellow inmate, Gonzalez dropped out of a prison gang, stayed sober and hasn’t violated prison rules.

Gonzalez was 23 years old during his robberies, making him eligible for “youthful offender parole.” The board gave great weight to the fact that Gonzalez was a “youthful offender,” had developed impulse control and maturity since his conviction and was impressed by Gonzalez’s rehabilitative programming, self-reflection, education and vocational training in prison over the last 14 years.

The board also felt that Gonzalez has adequate parole plans which include transitional housing and family support.

His crime spree began in June 2008 and ended Oct. 30, 2008 when he was apprehended after a day-long standoff with law enforcement in Merced.