A murder suspect wins his bid to restore his parental rights

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island’s highest court has reversed a lower court’s decision that had revoked the parental rights of a murder suspect.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday vacated a family court judge’s decision terminating of rights of Tony Gonzalez to his now 8-year-old daughter and sent the matter back for further proceedings.

The court found that the family court judge had erred by basing the termination on Gonzalez’s conviction and double life sentences – both of which have been overturned.

Gonzalez had argued that absent the criminal convictions the family judge could not find by clear and convincing evidence that he was an unfit parent.

The high court noted that Gonzalez is now presumed innocent.

Gonzalez remains jailed pending retrial in the January 2012 shooting death of Carl Cunningham Jr. in Warwick.

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