Tuesday, July 11, 2006
By SUE RYAN
News staff writer
June 17, 2006
Convicted rapist Ruperto Gonzaga-Gama, 18, pleaded guilty to a second charge of felony rape Wednesday in Hood River County Circuit Court.
The charge stemmed from the Jan. 12 rape of a Markham Road woman. Gonzaga-Gama was sentenced May 1 to 16 years in prison for the rape of a Collins Road woman on Feb. 14.
For the Markham Road rape, Judge Paul G. Crowley sentenced Gonzaga-Gama to 100 months in prison that will be served concurrently with the previous sentence.
“As a highly dangerous sexual predator, you will be released into the community, not our community, not the U.S., but a community … so it is very appropriate you spend a lot of time in prison for whatever you have done but it would (also) be appropriate if you received some sex offender treatment,” Crowley said.
Gonzaga-Gama is a native of Mexico and will be deported following the fulfillment of the sentence. The victim in the Markham Road rape did not make a statement at Wednesday’s hearing.
“The horrible impact this has had on the victim and her family, I suppose only other victims can understand,” Sewell said. “Both the victim and the state take comfort in the fact the suspect will be incarcerated for at least 16 years.”
He said Gonzaga-Gama’s guilty plea had kept the victim from having to testify during a jury trial. The rapist will have to also serve a 20-year period of post–prison supervision less time actually served. Judge Crowley added the condition that Gonzaga-Gama not be allowed contact with the victim in either case or their families.
In the Markham Road rape in January, the assault took place after 5:30 a.m. when the victim went outside because her dogs were barking.
In the Collins Road rape, Gonzaga-Gama assaulted the woman at knifepoint. He tied her up and stole an SUV.
She managed to get loose a few minutes after he had left and notified 9-1-1. After an aerial search conducted by the Hood River Sheriff’s office, Sheriff Joe Wampler spotted the stolen vehicle behind a farm shed on Imai Road and law enforcement officers arrested Gonzaga-Gama shortly after.
At the May 1 sentencing, the Collins Road rape victim urged him to confess if he had raped anyone else. Sewell chose to file charges in the Markham Road case after noticing similarities between the two assaults.
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge