A Riverside County couple pleaded not guilty Thursday, accused of charges stemming from a road rage incident in which another couple was severely beaten with an aluminum baseball bat and left lying on the side of a freeway just feet from their children.
Twenty-year-old Gabriel Bowker sat quietly in a Murrieta courtroom as he and his wife denied the accusations against them.
Guadalupe Bowker Cadena, 29, is accused of helping her husband get away after he allegedly used an aluminum baseball bat to beat a Lake Elsinore couple.
Top news of the day
The alleged crime happened Monday night on the northbound shoulder of the 15 Freeway, just South of Clinton Keith Road in Murrieta.
CHP investigators say the Bowkers got into a road rage incident with the victims near Murrieta Hot Springs Road. The victims had their two children with them, a 2-year-old and an infant.
"And they had gone to get a birthday cake for their 2 year old and they were on their way back home to do the birthday celebration when this whole thing occurred," said Officer Ron Thatcher.
Investigators say at the time, Gabriel Bowker was driving and the incident escalated when both cars pulled over.
That’s when the victims got out of their SUV and Gabriel Bowker allegedly attacked them with a bat, striking them in the head.
Both were found bleeding and unconscious on the side of the freeway, with their children unhurt inside the SUV.
"And then the suspects fled north on the freeway and left the victims behind," Thatcher said.
Guadalupe Bowker Cadena is charged with one count of aiding her husband because prosecutors say she drove her husband away from the crime scene.
"There's no indication that she took part in the assault itself," said John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
Both victims suffered severe head injuries but are expected to survive.
Gabriel Bowker remains behind bars with bail set at $1 million. He is facing several charges, including attempted murder. Guadalupe Bowker Cadena’s bail was set at $5,000.
CHP officers said this should be a lesson to anyone involved in a road rage incident.
"You just don't know who you are dealing with," Officer Thatcher said. "Call 911. Let the highway patrol handle it."