A June 23 trial date was set Wednesday for a South Bay man accused of repeatedly stabbing his former wife during an argument at her Imperial Beach home.

Jose Ascencio Gomez, 56, pleaded not guilty to charges of premeditated attempted murder and making a criminal threat at his Superior Court arraignment. A readiness conference is scheduled May 5.

If convicted of the stabbing, which occurred the afternoon of Dec. 14 in the 600 block of 11th Street, Gomez faces a maximum of 16 years to life in prison, according to Deputy District Attorney Christy Bowles.

The victim, also 56, told sheriff’s investigators her ex-husband showed up at her home and asked to use the telephone. During an ensuing argument, Gomez allegedly grabbed a knife from the victim’s kitchen and stabbed her five times in the chest before fleeing, sheriff’s Sgt. Juan Marquez said.

Paramedics took her to a hospital for treatment of wounds that were not life-threatening.

Gomez was arrested Dec. 16 at the intersection of Palm Avenue and Ninth Street in Imperial Beach. A day earlier, sheriff’s officials — fearing Gomez might flee to Mexico — released his photo to the public in hopes of generating leads on his whereabouts.

Gomez remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail.

–City News Service