Update: Arkansas Man Charged in 2016 Japan Attack convicted of Attempted Voluntary Manslaughter

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Update (April 25, 2019)- 

WASHINGTON (News Release)- After a three day trial, a federal jury in Little Rock, Arkansas, convicted a man who was then-residing on the Misawa Air Base, a military base in Japan, of multiple charges, stemming from the assault of three U.S. Air Force airmen and resisting military police who attempted to restrain him.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland of the Eastern District of Arkansas and Colonel Kirk B. Stabler of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations made the announcement.

Rodrigo Pineda Gomez, 44, who was residing in Japan, was convicted of one count of attempted voluntary manslaughter, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, three counts of assault by striking, beating, or wounding, one count of resisting a federal officer, and one count of making a false statement to law enforcement.

This verdict follows the earlier guilty plea on April 19 of Miguel Gomez, 21, the son of Rodrigo Gomez and himself a participant in the assault, to one count of assault by striking, beating or wounding.

The presiding judge, U.S. District Judge James Moody, Jr., has yet to set a sentencing date.

According to the superseding indictment and evidence presented at trial, on Dec. 31, 2016, on Misawa Air Base in Japan, the defendants, Rodrigo Gomez and his son, Miguel Gomez, assaulted three U.S. Air Force airmen.  During the assault, defendant Rodrigo Gomez attempted to kill one of the airmen by attempting to snap his neck and stomping on his head repeatedly while he was on the ground. He subsequently resisted arrest after law enforcement arrived, and then later made a false statement about the incident.  Co-defendant Miguel Gomez also assaulted one of the airmen.  At the time of the assault, defendant Rodrigo Gomez was the dependent spouse and Miguel Gomez the son of an active duty service member assigned to the base.  Their last known U.S. address at the time of indictment was Jacksonville, Arkansas.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations.  Trial Attorney Frank Rangoussis of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Williams of the Eastern District of Arkansas are prosecuting the case.

Original Story (Sept. 18, 2018)-

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal grand jury in Little Rock, Arkansas, returned a seven-count superseding indictment against a man who was residing on the Misawa Air Base, a military base in Japan, charging him with multiple counts relating to the assault of three U.S. Air Force airmen.  

The federal grand jury also returned a two-count indictment against his son, charging him with two counts relating to his role in the assault.

The reason Rodrigo Pineda Gomez is being charged in Arkansas is because his last military address was at Little Rock Air Force Base. 

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland of the Eastern District of Arkansas and Colonel Kirk B. Stabler of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations made the announcement. 

Rodrigo Pineda Gomez, 44, who was residing in Japan, is charged with one count of attempted voluntary manslaughter, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, three counts of assault by striking, beating, or wounding, one count of resisting a federal officer, and one count of making a false statement to law enforcement.  

Miguel Gomez, 21, is charged with one count of resisting a federal officer and one count of assault by striking, beating, or wounding. The defendants had their initial court appearance earlier today before Magistrate Judge Patricia S. Harris in the Eastern District of Arkansas. 

The superseding indictment, which was returned on Aug. 7, alleges that on Dec. 31, 2016, on Misawa Air Base in Japan, the defendants, Rodrigo Gomez and his son, Miguel Gomez, assaulted three U.S. Air Force airmen.  

The superseding indictment alleges that defendant Rodrigo Gomez attempted to kill one of the airmen, resisted arrest after law enforcement arrived, and then later made a false statement about the incident.  

Defendant Miguel Gomez allegedly assaulted one of the airmen and also resisted arrest after law enforcement arrived at the scene. At the time of the assault, defendant Rodrigo Gomez was the dependent spouse and Miguel Gomez the son of an active duty service member assigned to the base.  

Their last known U.S. address is alleged to be Jacksonville, Arkansas.  

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations. The prosecution is being handled by Trial Attorney Frank Rangoussis of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Williams of the Eastern District of Arkansas.

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