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September 22, 2014

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News briefs for June 24, 2003

Two life terms given in killings

A 31-year-old Las Vegas man convicted of killing his mother and his girlfriend will spend the rest of his life in prison, a judge ruled Monday.

District Judge Nancy Hardcastle handed down two life sentences without parole to Michael Messick in the first-degree murder of his mother, Hisayo Miller, 51.

Messick was also sentenced to life with parole possible after 10 years in the second-degree murder of his girlfriend, Anne Sauzo, 50. The sentences will run consecutively.

Jurors convicted Messick of both killings in May after a trial before Hardcastle.

Miller's body was found in a plastic tub in her condo near Sahara Avenue and Hualapai Way. An autopsy revealed she had been stabbed multiple times.

Sauzo, who was last seen getting into her vehicle with Messick a week before Miller's death, has been missing for two years.

Man arraigned in teen sex case

A 39-year-old photographer charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl was arraigned Monday before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Deborah Lippis.

Eric Root faces 25 criminal counts, including seven counts of sexual assault with a victim under 14 and four counts of sexual assault with a victim under 16. He also faces multiple child pornography counts and drug possession charges.

Root was arrested after an alleged victim, who is under 16, told police that Root had sexually assaulted her and had taken nude photographs of her.

At Root's home, police found nude photographs of other girls who appear to be between the ages of 12 and 16 years old.

Root had built living quarters and a darkroom in his parents' garage in southwest Las Vegas. He allegedly took the photographs under the pretext that he was providing a portfolio for aspiring models.

Root is being held at the Clark County Detention Center with bail set at $150,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for July 1.

Deputy District Attorney Mary Kay Holthus could not be reached for comment.

Trial date set for Maestas siblings

The Utah teens facing the death penalty in the stabbing attack that left a toddler dead and her 10-year-old sister paralyzed will stand trial on murder charges in May.

District Judge Donald Mosley on Monday set a trial date of May 3, 2004, for Beau Maestas, 19, and his 17-year-old sister, Monique.

The siblings did not appear in court during the hearing. A team of defense attorneys appeared on their behalf.

Mosley said prosecutors and defense attorneys had settled on the trial date in his chambers and that the case would take priority over other cases on his calendar during that time.

The Maestas siblings face multiple charges, including murder, attempted murder and burglary with a deadly weapon, in the Jan. 22 attack in Mesquite that killed 3-year-old Kristyanna Cowan and paralyzed Brittney Bergeron from the waist down.

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