Suspect changes plea, admits battering girlfriend | RecordCourier.com

Suspect changes plea, admits battering girlfriend

by Sheila Gardner
sgardner@recordcourier.com

A week before a 33-year-old Reno man was to go on trial on charges that he tried to strangle his girlfriend and endangered his infant son, the suspect pleaded guilty to two of five charges.

In exchange for Robert Ubaldo Gonzalez’s guilty pleas Tuesday, the state dismissed three other charges, and won’t pursue an habitual criminal enhancement.

Gonzalez changed his plea during a hearing on pre-trial motions before District Judge Michael Gibbons.

Prosecutor Laurie Trotter filed a motion to include the habitual criminal enhancement against Gonzalez which could have resulted in a lengthier sentence had he been convicted.

He was charged with battery that constitutes domestic violence committed by strangulation; battery that constitutes domestic violence with two or more priors; child endangerment; aggravated stalking; and dissuading a victim from reporting a crime.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty to battery that constitutes domestic violence committed by strangulation and dissuading a victim from reporting a crime.

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Gibbons set sentencing for Dec. 19 and vacated the Nov. 16 trial date.

Under the plea agreement, both sides agreed to recommend sentences of up to five years for the battery charge and four years for dissuading a victim.

The sentences are to be served concurrently, but consecutively to a six-year sentence Gonzalez faces for violating his probation in an unrelated Washoe County offense.

He agreed to stipulate to the probation violation.

Gonzalez is ineligible for probation.

That means he could face up to 11 years in prison and $15,000 in fines.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Gonzalez vacillated between admitting the offense and continuing to deny the charges.

“If you want me to admit things I didn’t do, I am going to trial,” he told Gibbons.

“For me to follow the law, I have to go through the process and make sure you understand the elements of the offense. I think you and your attorney wanted to go ahead with this. These facts have to be discussed whether they are true or not,” Gibbons said.

Gonzalez has prior domestic violence convictions from July 2006 and Aug. 23.

Gonzalez was arrested Sept. 11 after deputies were summoned to the Village Motel in Gardnerville by a woman who said she heard a commotion in a guest room.

According to the criminal complaint, Gonzalez choked the victim into unconsciousness one or more times, threw her cell phone against the wall, threatened to kill her, and ordered her to call his probation officer and say the allegations were a misunderstanding, and nothing happened.

She dropped their son, who was eight weeks old, on the bathroom floor during the struggle. The child was unharmed.

“I admit to telling her not to make the phone calls or I would kill her,” Gonzalez said.

“You plead guilty to using some sort or threat or intimidation?” Gibbons asked.

“That’s what I said because it really happened,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said the plea was voluntary and he understood what he was doing.

“Let’s just move forward with this guilty plea,” he said.

Gonzalez also agreed to plead guilty to battering an inmate in Douglas County Jail with the condition the charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor from a felony, and he will be sentenced to time served for the Sept. 24 offense.

The jail incident allegedly occurred Sept. 24 following a game of dominoes after an inmate made disrespectful remarks about Gonzalez’s mother. He denied the allegation.

Gonzalez pleaded not guilty to that charge Monday and was set for trial in January.