Rape suspect gets more time to prepare defense

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

March 11, 2006

The attorney of a suspected rapist asked Hood River County Circuit Court Judge Paul Crowley on Thursday for more time to review some of the evidence against his client before the case went forward.

Brian Starns wanted to look at the photographs taken from the crime scene and the lab results of DNA tests. He also expressed interest in unspecified “miscellaneous” items gathered as part of the investigation against Ruperto Gonzaga-Gama, 18.

The junior at Hood River Valley High School is being held on $100,000 cash bail at NORCOR. He was arrested on Feb. 14 in connection with the sexual assault of a Collins Road woman.

Gonzaga-Gama was found sitting inside the victim’s stolen SUV just minutes after she reported being raped 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.

According to reports, Gonzaga-Gama, a Mexican national who also resided on Collins Road, later confessed to the attack.

Sewell told Crowley at the March 9 hearing that most of the items requested by Starns were readily provided. However, he said the DNA testing was being done at the state crime lab and he was unsure if the results would be available by 11 a.m. on March 16.

Crowley granted a delay before the plea date was set to ensure that Starns had all of the information he needed to represent the teenager.

However, he said Gonzaga-Gama, by law, had a right to have a trial within two months unless he specified otherwise.

“We absolutely need to address the 60-day issue at that point (next week) since we will be exactly one-half through that time period,” said Crowley.

Gonzaga-Gama has been charged with five counts of felony rape, two counts of first-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree robbery and auto theft.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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