MURRIETA – A June 16 trial date was scheduled today for a convicted felon accused of inflicting a near-fatal beating on a San Jacinto convenience store clerk who tried to stop him from stealing liquor.
Robert Victor Gomez, 21, of Hemet could face more than 20 years behind bars if convicted of the Dec. 23, 2012, pre-dawn attack on an employee at a 7- Eleven in the 1400 block of South San Jacinto Avenue.
Gomez is charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, burglary, fraud and a sentence-enhancing allegation of causing great bodily injury resulting in a coma.
During a status hearing at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer tentatively set the defendant’s trial for the second week of June after the prosecution and defense agreed to clear their calendars for that time period. An intervening status conference is scheduled April 7 to confirm both sides are on track.
Gomez remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
Sheriff’s investigators allege Gomez walked into the 7-Eleven, grabbed a 40-ounce beer bottle and proceeded to leave without paying for it. The clerk chased after the defendant, who allegedly swung around and smashed the bottle into the man’s head.
The victim, identified only as John Doe in court documents, collapsed unconscious in the store parking lot, and Gomez initially ran away, but returned to pummel him, authorities allege.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Sargent, an outdoor video surveillance camera captured the entire episode.
”The suspect … punched the victim repeatedly with his fists as the victim lay unconscious and then fled the scene on foot,” Sargent alleged.
The clerk was hospitalized with major head trauma. He has since recovered.
According to sheriff’s officials, a crime technician analyzed the tape and recognized Gomez from an unrelated incident that happened hours before the attack. The defendant’s identity was confirmed, and four days later, he was arrested outside a Hemet business on State Street .
According to court records, Gomez has an August 2011 conviction for misdemeanor burglary and a February 2012 conviction for felony burglary. He pleaded guilty both times and was sentenced to probation for each crime.