A Sonoma Valley man arrested in a fatal fistfight outside a teen center was acting in self-defense, his lawyer said Thursday.
Joshua Javier Gonzalez, 19, is suspected of killing Mario Zamudio Perez, 25, also of Sonoma Valley, after the two squared off Friday at Valley of the Moon Teen Center in Agua Caliente.
His lawyer, Walter Rubenstein, said Perez picked a fight with Gonzalez over a Facebook posting and died of head injuries after Gonzalez punched him and he fell against a wall.
Rubenstein said his client didn’t want to fight but had no choice.
“It was a tragic accident,” Rubenstein said. “But you are allowed to defend yourself. If someone punches you, you can punch back.”
Gonzalez was arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter after turning himself in to police. He was released on $25,000 bail.
He appeared Thursday in a Santa Rosa courtroom, where prosecutors requested more time to consider criminal charges.
Judge Dana Simonds ordered him to return to court Oct. 2.
A conviction of involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum four-year prison sentence.
A Perez family member declined to comment on the case Thursday.