Not guilty plea entered in attack on Yakima real estate agent

Man, 78, was beaten, had his throat cut

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YAKIMA — A couple accused of ambushing a real estate agent at a vacant house pleaded not guilty to attempted murder charges Tuesday at their arraignment in Yakima County Superior Court.

Bail was set at $750,000 each for Luis Gomez-Monges, 38, and Adriana Mendez, 23.

The motive in the May 25 attack on Vern Holbrook, 78, is unclear, The Yakima Herald-Republic reported Wednesday. He was beaten and had his throat cut.

Holbrook was treated at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and discharged to a nursing care facility, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The couple posed as prospective buyers and specifically asked for Holbrook when they called his agency, Aspen Real Estate, about a vacant home in the Cowiche area, according to court papers.

Mendez told deputies she saw Gomez punch Holbrook in the head before she left the home and waited in the car outside with the couple's three children. Investigators tracked them to a Yakima motel two days after the attack.

A colleague found Holbrook's body in a pool of blood.

There are a number of rumors about the motive for the attack, said sheriff's Det. Stew Graham.

The court-appointed lawyer for Gomez, Paul Kelly, said he, too, is operating in the dark and hopes to hear more about a possible motive at another hearing next week.

"There's a lot going on here," he said.