Four face prison in Father’s Day beating
Two men and two teenagers face sentencing this morning in the Father’s Day beating death of Gardnerville resident Terrence Joe Howell in Douglas County District Court.
Alexandrew Vail, 15, Anthony Gomez, 30; Jason Waugh, 28, all pleaded no contest to voluntary mans¬laughter charges in September. A fourth defendant, 15-year-old Jimmy Holman, entered a no-contest plea to one count of involuntary manslaughter.
Vail, Gomez and Waugh face up to 10 years in prison each for their part in the beating..
During the plea hearing, Prosecutor Tom Gregory said the incident started over an argument between Howell’s and Gomez’s daughters.
The Gomez girl told her father, who was at a Father’s Day’s barbecue with the other three defendants.
Gomez and Waugh got into a car and went out looking for Howell, who they found riding his bicycle to the store, near the driveway to their apartment complex.
Waugh reportedly threw the first punch, knocking Howell to the ground.
“I punched this guy in the face,” he told District Judge Dave Gamble of the June 21 incident.
Howell, 54, grabbed onto Waugh’s leg. Holman said he was trying to pull Howell off Waugh’s leg.
“I kicked him in the arm twice,” Holman said.
Gregory said the fight broke up quickly, allowing Howell to get up and ride his bicycle back to his home.
His daughter said he was out of breath when he arrived. A Douglas County deputy responding to the fight found Howell and asked him what happened.
The deputy said Howell didn’t show any outward signs of trauma, besides a scraped elbow. Howell sought treatment at Carson Valley Medical Center where he was reportedly X-rayed, and released. The next morning, his daughter found him in the bathroom with labored breathing. His heart had stopped by the time medics arrived and he was taken to Carson-Tahoe Regional Medical Center where he died at 6:42 p.m. after surgery to remove his spleen on June 22.
An autopsy revealed he had bled to death when his ribs punctured his spleen.
Vail, who is being prosecuted as an adult because of the original murder charge, told Gamble that he kicked Howell, who was on his hands and knees on the street during the incident on June 21.
“We beat him down,” Vail said. “He was on his hands and knees and I kicked him a couple of times.”
The penalty for voluntary manslaughter is 4-10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Gregory is free to argue for the maximum sentence against Vail this morning. He agreed to recommend 33-84 months against Gomez and Waugh.
Holman faces up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine for involuntary manslaughter. Gregory agreed to recommend a suspended sentence for Holman.
Gomez’ attorney Ken Stover said his client was pleading no contest so a guilty plea could not be used should a third party face civil liability in Howell’s death.