Riverside, CA: Man Sentenced for Setting Girlfriend

A Santa Ana man who doused his 23-year-old girlfriend in gasoline and set her aflame while driving on a freeway near Corona was sentenced today to 15 years and four months behind bars.

Constantino Monterrosas Gamez, 39, pleaded guilty last week to attempted murder, making criminal threats, false imprisonment and a sentence-enhancing great bodily injury allegation for the July 15 attack on Jessica Munoz.

Gamez changed his plea during a settlement conference. Under an agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, a sentence- enhancing allegation that the defendant used a deadly weapon during a felony was dropped in exchange for his plea.

Superior Court Judge John Molloy found the plea terms acceptable and sentenced Gamez to the maximum term for the attempted murder count.

Around 8 a.m. last July 15, Gamez and his then-girlfriend got into a verbal altercation while traveling southbound on Interstate 15, near Temescal Canyon Road, in the defendant's Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck.

While he was driving, Gamez grabbed a can of gasoline and splashed a large amount of it on the woman, then ignited her using a cigarette lighter, according to the California Highway Patrol.

"The victim was able to remove her seatbelt and open the passenger door of the Chevy," CHP Officer Sylvia Vargas said earlier. "She jumped from the moving vehicle and fell onto the roadway. Thankfully, she was not struck by any other vehicles."

Gamez drove a short distance further, rear-ending a slow-moving garbage truck. He was not injured, nor was anyone in the other vehicle.

Munoz was rushed to a hospital for treatment of burns and other injuries from which she has since recovered. She did not appear at today's sentencing hearing.

One of the stipulations in the plea agreement is that the defendant will have no contact with the victim for three years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why is attempted murder any less of a crime than real murder? Just because a paramedic or doctor was able to keep this woman alive shouldn't have an impact on the sentencing. The intent of murder was there but the perp didn't succeed. If you try to burn somebody alive you shouldn't ever see the light of day again. This person is mentally broken.