Three plead no contest in man's beating death

GARDNERVILLE (AP) - Two Gardnerville men and a teenager have pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in the beating death of a man in June.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 3 for 28-year-old Jason Waugh, 30-year-old Anthony Gomez and 15-year-old Alexandrew Vail. They entered their pleas on Tuesday in Douglas County District Court.

Another 15-year-old boy, Jimmy Holman, pleaded no contest to a count of involuntary manslaughter.

The four allegedly confronted and beat 54-year-old Terrence Howell as he was riding his bicycle on June 21.

A responding Douglas County sheriff's deputy later found Howell and said he didn't show outward signs of trauma beyond a scraped elbow.

The next day, Howell's daughter reportedly found him in a bathroom and his breathing was labored. Paramedics arrived and he was taken to a hospital, where he later died after surgery to remove his spleen. An autopsy showed he bled to death after his ribs punctured his spleen.

Prosecutor Tom Gregory said the incident stemmed from an argument between Howell's and Gomez's daughters.

Gomez, who claimed Howell had used "dirty language" with his daughter, and Waugh allegedly got into a car and went looking for Howell. They found him riding his bicycle to the store.

Waugh told District Judge Dave Gamble on Tuesday that he hit Howell in the face. Holman said he kicked Howell in the arm twice while trying to pull him off Waugh's leg and Gomez also said he hit Howell.

Vail told Gamble he kicked Howell.

"We beat him down," Vail said. "He was on his hands and knees and I kicked him a couple of times."

But Vail's attorney, Tod Young, said he believed that if the case had gone to trial evidence would show Vail kicked Howell on the side opposite his spleen.

Gregory has agreed to recommend 33-84 months in prison for Gomez and Waugh and a suspended sentence for Holman. He is free to argue for the maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison for Vail.


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