Raphael Frank Domino Jr. died a week after being punched outside a Plank Road bar but saved lives in the process, his mother said Monday after her son’s killer pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Pearl S. Magee said her 39-year-old son’s organs were donated to several needy people after he died May 12, 2013 — one week after Andres Gonzalez punched Domino outside the End Zone Daiquiri & Bar, where Gonzalez worked.
Domino, of Baton Rouge, fell to the ground after he was punched, striking his head. The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office said he died from “blunt force craniocerebral injuries.”
Gonzalez, 29, also of Baton Rouge, will be sentenced Aug. 24 by state District Judge Bonnie Jackson, who ordered a presentence investigation. Manslaughter is punishable by up to 40 years in prison.
“I’m just relieved there was accountability and responsibility taken legally,” Magee said outside Jackson’s courtroom in the 19th Judicial District Courthouse.
“I’m satisfied with this,” she added, saying she is not pushing for any particular sentence.
David Rozas, the court-appointed attorney for Gonzalez, said his client was eager to own up to what he did to Domino.
“From the beginning, he’s always felt horrible,” Rozas said. “Mr. Gonzalez from the beginning has always wanted to take responsibility for it. He was very anxious to have this resolution.”
Prosecutor Stephen Pugh told Jackson that Gonzalez and Domino argued inside the bar, and after Domino exited the establishment Gonzalez followed him outside.
“Without warning the defendant punched the victim in the head,” Pugh said, noting that witnesses said Domino was not expecting the punch.
When asked if he agreed with Pugh’s recitation of the facts, Gonzalez told the judge he did not follow Domino outside, but that the two went outside to discuss their dispute. Gonzalez also insisted he did not hit Domino while Domino was not looking.
Domino’s family said Gonzalez and Domino knew each other.
A police report indicates Gonzalez was working in the kitchen of the bar when his girlfriend and Domino had words inside the bar. The woman told Gonzalez what happened, and he came out of the kitchen and confronted Domino.
Rozas said Gonzalez has no previous convictions.