UPDATE: Charges Against KOAT Reporter Dismissed Journal Staff Writer
The domestic dispute charges against KOAT-TV reporter Ilana Gold were dismissed in Metropolitan Court on Thursday, according to online court records.
Gold, 30, was charged with battery against a household member and larceny after a December 1, 2010 incident involving ex-boyfriend Joey Villaseñor, a professional cage fighter. Gold had allegedly reached out of her car window and pulled the drawstring out of Villaseñor's hooded sweatshirt, then refused to give him his garage door opener back during an argument. The charges against Gold were dismissed after Villaseñor, the main witness in the case, did not show up to her trial Thursday, attorney Sam Bregman said.
"We're obviously very pleased with the outcome. It wasn't a good case to begin with. We're happy she can move on with her life," Bregman said.
EARLIER STORY Thursday, December 02, 2010
TV Reporter Arrested in Domestic Dispute
By Jeff Proctor
Journal Staff Writer
When police arrived at Joey Villaseñor's apartment early Wednesday morning, the 6-foot-tall, 185-pound cage fighter with a professional record of 27-8 told officers he was "afraid because he did not know what (his ex-girlfriend) would do," according to court records.
The ex-girlfriend was Ilana Gold, a 30-year-old KOAT-TV reporter and former professional figure skater who stands 5 feet tall and weighs 110 pounds.
Gold was arrested Wednesday outside Villaseñor's apartment on charges of battery against a household member and larceny, despite objections from Villaseñor, who said he had not wanted her to be arrested.
She had allegedly reached out of her car window and pulled the drawstring out of Villaseñor's hooded sweatshirt and refused to give him his garage door opener back during an argument.
After being booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on Wednesday, Gold was released from the West Side jail on her own recognizance and is due in court Dec. 13.
Albuquerque police spokeswoman Trish Hoffman said officers had no choice but to arrest Gold, who covers APD and other beats for Channel 7.
"The domestic violence laws are very specific," Hoffman said. "An arrest is made in these kinds of cases 98 percent of the time. It's not up to him whether she goes to jail.
"If we didn't intervene and make an arrest, and she went back and hurt him or worse, then we would have that whole issue to deal with."
Gold's attorney, Sam Bregman, calls it a "silly arrest."
"They arrested Ilana and put her in jail for pulling a string out of a sweatshirt," Bregman said. "I would hope that the Albuquerque Police Department would have more serious incidents it needs to dedicate its time to."
"In no way can this be construed as a crime, but unfortunately APD overreacted. I am very confident that once we get into a courtroom, these charges will be dropped quickly."
Hoffman said the officers who responded didn't know who Gold was until Villaseñor told them.
Villaseñor, 35, told officers that Gold had called him "50 times in two hours" and had waited in her SUV outside his apartment until he got home.
When he arrived, the complaint states, Gold "started demanding his cell phone because she wanted to see who he was texting."
Villaseñor told Gold to leave and that he was going to call the police, the complaint states. He then "took off running" away from her and called police from the other side of the apartment complex.
After a few moments, Villaseñor walked back up to his apartment and was trying to open the door when Gold pulled back up in her SUV, got out and "started running towards him again," the complaint states.
Officers saw Gold running toward Villaseñor and separated the two.
Gold told officers she was on her way home and saw that Villaseñor was at his apartment, the complaint states. She told officers she wanted to speak with him "because he had been cheating on" her.
She acknowledged that the two had been in an argument, the complaint states, but denied refusing to return the garage door opener.
Villaseñor said in an interview that he and Gold had dated for about four months. He said the relationship ended about a month ago.
Gold did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
"I didn't want to push no charges, and I didn't want her to get arrested," Villaseñor said. Villaseñor trains at Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts in Albuquerque. His professional career dates back to 1999.
Gold has been with KOAT since 2007, according to the station's website. She is listed as a general assignment reporter.
KOAT President and General Manager Mary Lynn Roper declined to comment on Gold's arrest or employment status.