On Sept. 24, a Sonoma County jury deliberated less than five hours before finding defendant Arent Daniel Julius Bradt of Port Huron, Michigan, guilty of second degree murder.
In addition, the jury found “true” an enhancement alleging the defendant used a knife during the murder, making the defendant’s maximum sentence 16 years to life in state prison.
The charges resulted from an incident on Nov. 24, 2016 at the site of a marijuana grow in Knights Valley on Highway 128. According to a statement from the District Attorney’s office, Bradt, 35, had traveled from Michigan to Santa Rosa approximately a month prior to the murder and found work in the marijuana industry.
The victim, Cesar Gonzalez-Rivas was born in Venezuela and came to the United States when he was 18 years old and subsequently earned his citizenship. At the time of the murder, Gonzalez-Rivas was 40 years old and a resident of Geyserville.
According to a statement from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, on Nov. 24, 2016 at 3:02 p.m., the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a caller reporting an assault in the 16000 block of Highway 128, in Knights Valley. Numerous Sheriff’s deputies and multiple EMS agencies responded to the scene.
A male, who appeared to be the victim of an assault, was located outside a residence. Medical aid was provided to the subject, who had been stabbed multiple times, but he ultimately succumbed to his injuries. The death was then classified as a homicide. On Nov. 27, 2016 the Sonoma County Coroner's Office identified the victim as Gonzalez-Rivas. Bradt was found at the scene and subsequently arrested without incident. The knife was also recovered at that time.
According to the District Attorney’s office, on the day of the incident, Gonzalez-Rivas, who was overseeing the operations while his associate and owner of the home was away, notified the defendant that his services were no longer needed. An argument ensued between the two, and Bradt produced a knife and stabbed the unarmed victim once in the neck and 17 times in the back.
A witness who was present at the time of the murder heard the argument and upon seeing the blood on Gonzalez-Rivas called 911. A Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy arrived to the rural property within minutes and located the defendant on the property.
According to a statement from the District Attorney’s Office, during the trial the jury heard portions of the defendant’s interview given shortly after the attack where he stated, “(the victim) ran around bleeding and like, he didn’t seem like he was ever gonna fall over.”
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Jane Murray and Deputy District Attorney Evanthia Pappas, assisted by Attorney Investigator Mark Azzouni. Detective-Sergeant Jayson Fowlerof the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office headed the investigation.