Hearing for Berkeley Murder Suspect Delayed After Courtroom Incident

The René C. Davidson Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland. (Alex Emslie/KQED)

The arraignment for a UC Berkeley student facing murder and other felony charges has been delayed again following an altercation early Wednesday in an Oakland courtroom.

Pablo Gomez, 22, is charged with first-degree murder in the fatal Jan. 6 stabbing of 27-year-old Emilie Inman at her home on Ashby Avenue. He's also charged with several other counts in connection with two other Jan. 6 incidents: assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder for an alleged knife attack on a second woman, and first-degree robbery in an alleged in-home theft from a third.

Berkeley police have not said whether they've determined a motive in the killing, and it's unknown whether Gomez, who was active in a variety of political causes on campus, knew Inman, a UC Santa Cruz graduate and environmental educator who was training to become a Waldorf teacher.

Gomez, whose family lives in the Los Angeles area, was arrested in Burbank the day after the killing and brought back to the Bay Area the following week. The initial arraignment in the case was postponed until Wednesday so Gomez could secure counsel.

Members of Gomez's family, friends from the UC Berkeley community and Inman's Ashby Avenue housemates were in court for the 9 a.m. arraignment. The spectators were present when Gomez, wearing a red jail jumpsuit, met with a public defender, George Arroyo, in a small room adjoining the courtroom.

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Arroyo emerged from the meeting after a few minutes as the sound of banging and screaming came from the room.

"He is losing it," Arroyo said.

A sheriff's deputy rushed to the room, and shouts of "Get off me!" could be heard in the courtroom. Two more deputies responded and wrestled the 5-foot-5-inch, 110-pound Gomez to the floor.

Gomez, who is being held without bail at Alameda County's Santa Rita Jail, was dragged from the courtroom as family and friends wept. One of the deputies had what appeared to be a deep scratch on one hand.

Arroyo said later that Gomez's family had sought private counsel but had been unable to do so. He added that he had not met with or talked to Gomez before Wednesday and could not comment on why Gomez became so upset during their courtroom meeting.

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Arroyo said he expects to be representing Gomez at his rescheduled arraignment next Monday.

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