UPDATE, OCT. 27, 1:07 P.M.: 39-year-old Santa Anan Constantino Monterrosas Gamez, who pleaded guilty last week to setting his girlfriend on fire as he drove his pickup on I-15 near Corona in July, was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years and four months in state prison.
One stipulation of the plea deal Gamez accepted--which dropped charges that could have kept him behind bars for more than 20 years--is that he have no contact with his victim for three years. She was identified in court as Jessica Munoz.
ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 19, 11:52 A.M.: Years ago, after pointing out to my young daughter that something she said totally contradicted something she'd previously said, she replied, "Girls can change their minds." Turns out boys can, too. Remember that not guilty plea Constantino Monterrosas Gamez entered in July to charges the 39-year-old Santa Ana man set his girlfriend on fire as he drove his pickup on I-15 near Corona? He's since pleaded guilty to attempted murder and making criminal threats, a flip-flop that could land Gamez in state prison for 13 years.
Here's our original post and update:
- Constantino Monterrosas Gamez Accused of Setting Girlfriend on Fire as They Sped 65 to 70 mph on I-15
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Gamez and his girlfriend were arguing while zipping along the Interstate southbound near Temescal Canyon Road in his Chevy S-10 pickup around 8 a.m. on July 15 when he grabbed a gasoline can, doused his honey and lit her on fire. She managed to un-do her seatbelt, open the passenger side door and jump out of the moving truck without being struck by other vehicles.
The driver kept right on going until smashing into a slow-moving garbage truck. He was not injured but the unidentified woman he torched certainly was, suffering burns and other injuries one associates with jumping out of a moving pickup on an Interstate. Remarkably, she's out of the hospital.
In exchange for his guilty pleas, the Riverside County District Attorney's office dropped a false imprisonment charge and sentencing enhancements that could have pushed Gamez's stretch beyond 20 years. He's scheduled to learn exactly how many years he'll do at a sentencing hearing scheduled for Oct. 26 in Riverside County Superior Court Judge John Molloy's courtroom.
Until then, Gamez remains at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, where he is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.