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October 26, 2014

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Days before trial, man accused of beating limo driver is no-show for court

A man who was free on bail while awaiting trial next month in the beating of a limousine driver failed to up show up to court today, prompting a Clark County judge to issue a warrant for his arrest months after reducing his charges.

Emilio Ruvalcaba, who faces charges of mayhem and battery resulting in bodily harm in connection with the driver’s beating on Sept. 5, 2013, will be held at the Clark County Detention Center without bail if arrested. Ruvalcaba's trial in the beating case is scheduled for July 7.

His co-defendant, Carlos Saenz III, attended today’s hearing and pleaded guilty to attempted battery causing substantial harm, accepting a deal with prosecutors. Sentencing for Saenz is scheduled for Oct. 28.

Prosecutors allege the men assaulted the female limo driver after she stopped at a liquor store on Industrial Road at her fares’ request while en route from one Strip nightclub to another.

Before the alleged beating — a motive is unclear — Ruvalcaba told the driver that he was a member of the Mexican Mafia and that he’d killed before, according to the driver’s testimony to a Clark County grand jury. Ruvalcaba told the driver she would be next and that her body would never be found, she testified.

The duo initially faced charges of battery, mayhem and robbery — all with intent to “promote, further or assist a criminal gang.”

But Clark County District Court Judge Abbi Silver, who issued Ruvalcaba’s arrest warrant today, said prosecutors didn’t present enough evidence to the grand jury to support the gang-related charges.

On Dec. 17, Silver ordered prosecutors to drop the gang enhancement charges and lowered bail for each defendant from $1 million to $30,000. Ruvalcaba posted bail that day, and Saenz was released Dec. 26.

The beating left the limo driver with a concussion. She told the grand jury she needed physical therapy because of the attack.

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