Rape suspect given time to ponder plea

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

April 19, 2006

Ruperto Gonzaga-Gama, 18, of Dee has two more weeks to decide how he will plead to five counts of felony rape and several other crimes.

On Monday, Hood River Circuit Court Judge Donald Hull set the new entry of plea date to 11 a.m. on May 1. At that time, Gonzaga-Gama will be required to either deny or admit to the 10 charges leveled against him by District Attorney John Sewell.

He is being held in NORCOR on $100,000 cash bail until his next court appearance.

The Hood River Valley High School junior was arrested Feb. 14 in connection with the sexual assault of a Collins Road woman.

Sewell has charged him not only for the rape but two counts of first-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree robbery and auto theft.

According to reports, Gonzaga-Gama was found sitting inside the victim’s stolen SUV just minutes after she reported being attacked at knifepoint and then tied up. Fifteen minutes after that 9-1-1 call was made, Sheriff Joe Wampler, flying a search plane, spotted the vehicle parked behind a farm shed along Imai Road.

Gonzaga-Gama, a Mexican national, was found in possession of an Xbox and video games taken from the victim’s home.

At the teenager’s first court hearing in February — one day after his arrest — Sewell told Judge Paul Crowley that he had confessed to the crimes.

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