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New trial ordered for MC man who was charged after Band Fest brawl

DES MOINES – A man who allegedly punched another man who who holding his 9-year-old daughter’s hand during the Band Fest parade will get a new trial on the assault and harassment charges that ensued.

Band Fest
Band Fest

Robert Lee Gomez, age 54 of Mason City, appealed his convictions for assault resulting in bodily injury and harassment in the second degree. It was alleged that on May 26, 2012, Gomez and his son, Bobby, attended the band festival parade in Mason City. While there, they encountered Avak Haroutunian and Mike Jones. Haroutunian was holding his nine-year-old daughter’s hand. When Haroutunian rebuffed Gomez’s offer to shake hands, Gomez said: “[T]hat’s how it’s going to be, huh?” Gomez then punched Haroutunian in the mouth. Gomez denied punching Haroutunian. He claimed it was Haroutunian who threw the first punch and ventured that Haroutunian’s injuries might have occurred when Gomez “slammed him down” during the scuffle. When the dust settled, Haroutunian’s lip was swollen, split, and slightly bleeding.

The next day Gomez and Haroutunian had another run in. This time, Gomez accosted Haroutunian when he was picking up his thirteen-year-old son from his ex-wife’s house. Gomez yelled from across the street: “[T]his isn’t over yet . . . this isn’t over, get out of the car, I’m going to kick your ass.” The shouting scared Haroutunian’s daughter who was with him in the car. Haroutunian called the police. Gomez denied this incident took place.

Gomez was convicted by a jury of assault resulting in bodily injury and harassment in the second degree. At appeal, Gomez argued his trial counsel – Richard Tompkins Jr. – was ineffective for not objecting to several problems with the jury instructions.

The appeals court judges found that Gomez’s counsel did provide ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to object to the jury instructions, reversed both convictions and remanded for a new trial.

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