Man guilty in plot to kidnap Menlo Park woman 

A jury took four hours Thursday to find a Fresno man guilty of taking part in a plot to kidnap, rape and kill a Menlo Park woman.

Alfonso Cuevas Gonzalez, 40, will face life in prison for kidnapping the woman and driving her to Fresno, where the scheme unraveled and the victim escaped. On one charge — kidnapping with intent to rape — the jury found Gonzalez not guilty. He will be sentenced May 2.

Gonzalez was allegedly hired by Ricardo Zambrano, 37, in a plot to kidnap the woman, a former employee at Zambrano’s jewelry store at the Mi Rancho market in Menlo Park. Zambrano was reportedly obsessed with the woman and sought out men to abduct her. Throughout the trial, Gonzalez claimed that Zambrano threatened to kill his 13-year-old son if he didn’t comply.

Zambrano’s trial will begin Monday.

On June 10, 2005, Gonzalez allegedly abducted the victim — only identified as "Nancy" — at gunpoint, tied her up in a van and drove to Fresno. A third man involved, Guadalupe Torres Perez, was allegedly providing his house in Fresno. Once Gonzalez got there, however, Perez abandoned the plan and pretended no one was home, prosecutor Morris Maya said.

Gonzalez then drove to the home of a friend, Ana Martinez, who took in the victim and allowed her to call her family for help.

During his testimony, Gonzalez claimed that he felt sorry for the woman as he drove her to Fresno. Liz Maguire, his attorney, largely blamed Zambrano for the crime, describing him as wealthy and dangerous who persistently made sexual advances to the victim.

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