QUEENSBURY — The Glens Falls man who allegedly robbed a Lake George bank earlier this year is going to stand trial starting Tuesday, but not for the bank heist.
Instead, Nelson L. Gouge Sr. will face a jury in Warren County Court for a 12-count indictment that accuses him of brutally beating his ex-girlfriend last year in Glens Falls.
He faces felony counts of aggravated criminal contempt, aggravated family offense, assault, criminal contempt and non-criminal harassment for a variety of incidents with a woman he had been dating in the Dix Avenue home where he had been staying.
The alleged violence occurred Aug. 13, 2017, and last Dec. 4, before the Jan. 12 holdup at Trustco Bank in Lake George that landed Gouge in jail.
The victim had numerous injuries from being beaten to the point she locked herself in the apartment’s bathroom Dec. 4, then fled in her bare feet to the Empire Ambulance station across the street from her home.
Gouge, 46, was in Warren County Court on Friday for a pre-trial hearing before Judge John Hall, Warren County prosecutors Rebecca Nealon and Robert McCarty and his defense lawyer, William Little, ironing out evidentiary issues before trial begins.
Hall ruled that prosecutors can elicit testimony from emergency medical technicians to whom the victim told details of the assault, an exception to the rule that generally bars “hearsay” testimony because it was an “excited utterance” from a crime victim.
Little had claimed the fact the woman waited eight hours before going to get help, so the “excited utterance” exception should not necessarily apply. Nealon, though, pointed out she was locked in a bathroom during those eight hours, and fled in winter with no shoes or jacket to get help.
“It seems like she was still excited about the situation, worried about being attacked,” Hall said.
The jury will be able to see at least portions of the body camera videos of Glens Falls Police officers, and hear what the woman told Glens Falls Hospital staff as well.
Police had been seeking Gouge in the domestic violence case for weeks before the bank robbery, and their repeated run-ins with him led to his arrest within hours when officers recognized him from bank surveillance videos. He allegedly stole $4,301 from the Trustco Bank branch in Lake George after handing the teller a note that indicated he had a weapon.
Gouge, who has multiple prior felony convictions, rebuffed a plea agreement that would have netted him a 3- to 6-year prison sentence for the robbery and domestic violence.
Gouge was charged with bank robbery by federal prosecutors after he rejected the plea offer in County Court, and the felony count he faces could result in 20 years in federal prison. He faced up to 7 years on the robbery count in Warren County Court, which was dismissed in light of the federal prosecution.
He has pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court, and no trial date has been set in that case.