3 of 4 assailants sentenced in Father’s Day slaying
November 4, 2009
MINDEN – District Judge Dave Gamble handed down sentences Tuesday from 10 years in prison to probation for three defendants in the fatal Father’s Day beating of a 54-year-old Gardnerville man.
Gamble continued sentencing until Nov. 17 for 15-year-old Alexandrew Vail, described as the most culpable in the June 22 death of Terrence Joe Howell.
Vail, Anthony Gomez, 30, Jason Waugh, 28, and Jimmy Holman, 15, were arrested following Howell’s death.
The four were accused of confronting Howell on June 21 after an alleged argument between Howell’s and Gomez’s young daughters at their Gardnerville apartment complex.
According to reports, Howell was kicked, punched and shoved in a brief altercation with the four men. Witnesses said he walked home after the fight and showed no outward signs of trauma to deputies or medical center personnel.
The next morning, June 22, his daughter found Howell in the bathroom with labored breathing. He was taken to Carson-Tahoe Regional Medical Center where he died after surgery to remove his spleen. An autopsy revealed Howell bled to death when his ribs punctured his spleen.
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Gamble continued Vail’s sentencing for two weeks to hear more of attorney Tod Young’s recommendation for incarcerating the 15-year-old.
“In reviewing the presentence investigation, I saw Mr. Vail as the most culpable in the death of Joe Howell despite the fact that he’s 15 years old,” Gamble said. “I held out very little hope, which is very hard to say about a 15 year old.”
Young said Vail had limited perception of the event that lead up to the beating, his role in Howell’s death and what awaits him in prison as a 15-year-old.
“He told me it would be OK if he goes to prison because they serve ‘hella’ big lasagna,” Young said. “His perception of prison – he’s a 15-year-old with about an 11-year-old’s mind. That’s the level he’s thinking on.”
Young said he was exploring the possibility of Vail being admitted to Rite of Passage, an alternative program for youthful offenders.
Vail apologized for Howell’s death.
“I think it’s bad he died,” Vail said. “I didn’t think he got killed. I never intended for him to die on me.”
Vail and Holman were tried as adults because of the nature of the offense, originally charged as open murder. Holman pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter.
The other three defendants pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter.
Gomez was sentenced to eight years in prison with the possibility of parole in 28 months.
Holman, Gomez’s stepson, was sentenced to a suspended 4-year prison term. Gamble placed him on five years probation. Gamble ordered Holman to earn his general equivalency diploma, attend the victim’s impact panel, and complete any substance abuse, alcohol or anger management ordered by the court.
Waugh received the longest sentence, up to 10 years in prison.
Gamble pointed out Waugh’s numerous arrests for domestic battery and other violent crimes.