“The first thing he said was, 'You been talking a lot of shit I heard,' then the second thing he said was, 'Get your arm off my girl,'” a taxi driver said during more than an hour of testimony on January 20.
He was one of two witnesses at a hearing for Dash Simmons Walter, 29, who is accused of beating and robbing the driver two months ago, in the early-morning hours of November 13, 2014.
The taxi driver testified that Jenna Lee Gamble, 28, had phoned to ask for a ride from her home in the 4900 block of Concho Place in Oceanside. Gamble was the girlfriend of Walter, and both were regular customers, according to the taxi driver. “They called me a lot.”
The driver said he arrived at about 1 a.m. and Jenna came out and directed him to park closer to her home. She then allegedly asked him to step out of his cab to have a cigarette. The driver said he was only out of his car a couple minutes, just long enough to light a cigarette, when Walter and another man came out of bushes around the home and attacked him.
The driver said he could see Walter was holding a long stick but “when he got closer I could see it was a piece of rebar.” The man held the metal bar with both hands and swung at him, the witness claimed. “He was saying something like, ‘Fuck you, you asshole,’ something like that.” The victim was allegedly struck in the head several times.
The first attacker was immediately followed by another man, a stranger to the driver, who was identified in court as defendant Kevin Lee Moore, 32. “Yes, I did see something in Mr. Moore’s hand,” the victim testified. “It was like a crowbar, like a nail picker, with a screwdriver handle.” The stranger struck him across his forehead, the witness said.
After he was knocked down, he received more blows, he said. “I might have passed out on the ground, I don’t really remember…. I can’t really tell who exactly was doing what,” the witness told a judge. “They both kicked me.” And “Dash hit me in the back with the rebar, three or four times.”
Prosecutor Jack Wong showed the witness evidence photos of bloody injuries. “Yeah, I got nine stitches to the side of my head,” the witness confirmed. “I got a broken nose. Both of my front teeth are chipped.”
The victim said the woman who phoned him made a dash for the door of her home. “She ran right when it happened, I saw when that happened, she ran inside and turned off all the lights.” He claimed that Gamble did not seem surprised by the violence. “No, she wasn’t startled at all.”
The victim said that while he was on the ground, Walter robbed him. “He started saying, ‘Empty your pockets, give me everything you’ve got.’ He was saying that a lot — ‘Give me everything you’ve got.’” Because he was face down, the driver said he wasn’t sure if both men went through his clothing. “They checked all of my pockets.” He was robbed of 50 dollars, a small baggie of marijuana, and his work badge, the driver claimed.
The man he knew as Dash kept demanding more, so “I told him I had 300 dollars in the cab.” When the driver was allowed to get back into his cab he locked the doors and drove off, he said. “I saw a cop driving on the street and flagged him down.”
An Oceanside police officer confirmed that he was contacted near the intersection of College Boulevard and Highway 76 at about 1:15 a.m. “He exited his vehicle and flagged us down.” When police went to the home they found “thirty or forty pieces of rebar” in the backyard, according to Officer Grindley.
Near the end of the January 20 hearing, defense attorney Rick Layon, who represented Gamble, suggested to the judge: “This was more of a frolic than acting as a taxi driver.”
“This was more of a group beat-down,” judge Blaine K. Bowman corrected the attorney.
The prosecutor alleged that Walter has three prior felony convictions in San Diego County, beginning with grand larceny when he was 20 and then two drug offenses six years later. At the Tuesday hearing, the judge found Walter to be in violation of probation.
The three suspects were all ordered to face felony charges of first-degree robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. All defendants plead not guilty to all charges and are next due in court February 10 to set a date for trial.