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For Immediate Release

Carjacker Sentenced to Maximum Term of Imprisonment for Random Attack on Elderly Victim

SANTA ROSA, CA | August 02, 2023

Defendant Rico Richard Leaton-Gomez, 28 years old of Windsor, was sentenced today by the Honorable Laura Passaglia to serve 26 years in state prison after having been convicted by a Sonoma County jury in June of this year to charges of carjacking and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury. In addition, the defendant was also found to have committed sentencing enhancements for personally inflicting great bodily injury on the victim and for having a prior “strike” conviction. The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office recommended the 26-year sentence which is the maximum allowed by law.

District Attorney Rodriguez said, “This was a completely unprovoked and vicious attack on an elderly victim by someone with a history of violent behavior. Mr. Leaton-Gomez’s sentence is entirely appropriate.”

On October 2, 2022, around 11:30 a.m., the 67-year-old victim was sitting in his parked vehicle near the Santa Rosa Plaza shopping mall in downtown Santa Rosa when Leaton-Gomez approached him and engaged in conversation. Leaton-Gomez left but soon returned, at which point he violently punched the victim in the head through the rolled-down window of the victim’s vehicle. Leaton-Gomez opened the vehicle door, struck the victim again, pulled him out of the vehicle, and continued to assault him. While the victim was sprawled out on the ground and bleeding, Leaton-Gomez went into the victim’s truck and began to drive it away. However, after nearby witnesses began to observe what was happening, Leaton-Gomez abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene. He was apprehended two days later. The victim suffered a significant laceration to his left ear, lacerations to the back of his head, a broken nose, and a concussion.

During the sentencing hearing the court noted, “What you did was inexcusable. It was a victimization of an unarmed man that caused great mental and physical injury.” At the time of the crime, Leaton-Gomez was on post-release community supervision from state prison for another felony assault on a random victim in Sonoma County. Leaton-Gomez’s prior “strike” conviction was a Sonoma County assault with a deadly weapon.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Bertz, assisted by District Attorney investigators Lyn McCarthy, Stephen Bussell, and Vaughn Andrews. The Santa Rosa Police Department headed the investigation.


Contact Information

Media Spokesperson, Assistant District Attorney Brian Staebell
Media Coordinator, Carrie Trevena
(707) 565-3098