A bench warrant was issued Tuesday for a Gardnerville man, set to plead guilty to multiple charges that could mean up to life in prison, who slipped out of the courthouse moments before his arraignment, leaving behind his pregnant fiancée.
Senior Judge Charles McGee issued the warrant for the arrest of David Gabriel Gomez, 31, when he failed to show up in court by a 3 p.m. deadline Tuesday. He is to be held without bail.
According to Gomez’s attorney, Jamie Henry, her client showed up for court at 8 a.m. Tuesday, and signed a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office.
Shortly before the start of court at 9 a.m., she said Gomez told her he had a family emergency, but would be back.
Gomez’s fiancée, Chanté Firefox, said the defendant’s father had been injured in an accident at a Gardnerville ranch where he worked, and Gomez went to the scene. She said he didn’t have a cell phone.
McGee agreed to continue the case until 3 p.m. Tuesday, over the objection of prosecutor Laurie Trotter who asked that a warrant be issued immediately.
“He is an extreme flight risk,” Trotter said. “He routinely flees from police, and puts officers and himself at risk.”
She said if Gomez is convicted of the most recent charges, it would be his fifth felony.
“He has been in prison three times,” she said. “This is what he does.”
He is charged with trafficking in a controlled substance, being an habitual felon, and possession of a dangerous weapon.
Gomez had been in custody since his arrest on May 22, but bailed out Sept. 24. His bail was $28,774 bondable.
Henry said after Gomez bailed out, he immediately reported to the Department of Alternative Sentencing for supervision. She said he had all negative tests for substance use, and appeared at 8 a.m. Tuesday as she requested.
“He was here literally minutes before court started,” Henry said.
Gomez was arrested in May after he ran from deputies trying to serve a warrant for a probation violation.
When he was taken into custody, deputies reportedly found 27.9 grams of methamphetamine, empty plastic bags, a switchblade, a pay notebook and $457.
East Fork Justice Tom Perkins ordered Gomez to serve the remainder of a six-month sentence for domestic battery against his fiancée last year.
He denied striking the victim, but admitted they argued loud enough to draw the attention of witnesses who alleged physical abuse.
Gomez has a lengthy criminal history and multiple failures to appear.
He spent 3-1/2 years in prison before being released last November.
Gomez has served two prior prison terms for selling methamphetamine, and eluding a peace officer who believed Gomez was trying to run him over with a van.
As a result of Gomez’s failure to appear Tuesday, the state is free to withdraw from the plea agreement. Charges that were going to be dismissed included battery by a probationer. Trotter said the state was free to seek a higher habitual criminal enhancement that could mean life in prison without the possibility of parole.
As part of the plea agreement, Gomez had agreed to seek the lesser enhancement which was 5-20 years in prison.
The higher enhancement ranges from a definite term of 25 years with eligibility after a minimum of 10; 10-to-life; and life without possibility of parole.
Trotter said it is up to the judge whether to impose the habitual felon enhancement.
Gomez is not eligible for probation.