Wheelman gets four-year jail term in knife attack

A 39-year-old Reno ex-convict was sentenced Jan. 29 to four years in Nevada State Prison for his part in an argument over a casino parking space that led to the stabbing of a Carson City man.

District Judge Dave Gamble told Richard A. Stewart he must serve a minimum of 12 months before he is eligible for parole.

Stewart admitted giving a ride to Remengesau "Ray Ray" Erungel, 24, after Erungel stabbed the victim on Oct. 11.

Gamble sentenced Erungel to 10 years in prison on Jan. 14.

Stewart apologized to the 24-year-old victim who attended the sentencing.

"He (Stewart) asked me to get out of the car, called me a punk, and spit in my face. The people who were with him egged him on," the victim said.

Stewart was not involved in the stabbing, but admitted giving Erungel a ride. He claimed he didn't know what had happened until he heard a news broadcast that authorities were looking for the suspects.

"I apologize," Stewart said. "I told 'Ray Ray' and the other gentlemen to walk away. I wish I had pulled them away and I did not. I had no knowledge of what happened until after the fact.

"I hope you accept my apology and fully recover. It was uncalled for and stupid on my part."

Stewart said he and his companions entered the casino and when they came out, Erungel said, "Hey, we've got to go."

"You took a person who had just finished stabbing someone and helped him escape?" Gamble asked.

Stewart said once he learned what Erungel had done, he was afraid.

"I felt if I did turn him in, my life would be in danger. If he was able to stab somebody over a parking place, what would he do to me?" he said.

Prosecutor Michael McCormick said Stewart's actions precipitated the event.

"In the state's eye, he was responsible for getting the whole thing started," McCormick said. "This person isn't blame-free. On the security video, he can be seen running out of the casino."

n A Gardnerville Ranchos man pleaded guilty Monday to felony driving under the influence with one prior.

Phillip Gamez, 37, was arrested Jan. 23 on Langley Drive. His preliminary blood-alcohol content wasn't ready by his hearing, but Gamez said he knew it would exceed the .08 limit for driving in Nevada, and he didn't want to wait for results.

"I was quite over the legal limit. I know I was," Gamez said.

He faces up to 15 years in Nevada State Prison and a $5,000 fine at his sentencing March 10.

According to records, Gamez has three prior felony convictions for driving under the influence.

"You're obviously looking at substantial (prison) time," District Judge Michael Gibbons said.

In exchange for the guilty plea, a charge of domestic battery was dismissed.

n A former Douglas County man was sentenced Monday to 30 months in Nevada State Prison for battering his brother.

Daniel Helmer, 45, is serving five years in Nevada State Prison for a third conviction of domestic battery. That offense was committed while Helmer was on house arrest for the charge against his brother.

The victim, who was not injured, asked for leniency.

"With a record like you have, you could be facing a life sentence as a habitual offender," District Judge Michael Gibbons said.

"What I have to do is quit drinking," Helmer said. "If I don't quit, I'll spend the rest of my life in prison."

Gibbons gave him credit for 58 days served.

"You have roughly a year to go," Gibbons said. "You know what's going to happen in the future. Anymore problems, you're history."

n A 38-year-old Gardnerville woman is to appear in East Fork Justice Court today on allegations that she didn't require her 15-year-old daughter to attend school, and was present when the teenager was involved in a drug deal.

Kathleen Lugone is charged with contributing to the neglect of a child, a misdemeanor.

According to court documents, the girl was not in school from August through January.

Lugone reportedly was present when the juvenile was involved in the sale of 56 grams of marijuana to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office Street Enforcement Team.

Lugone is in Douglas County Jail on $10,000 bail.


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