Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2014

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High court upholds murder conviction

CARSON CITY -- The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the murder conviction and four other convictions of Jamaar Williams, who fatally shot another man in Clark County in an argument over a debt.

The court rejected the appeal of Williams, 23, who said there was insufficient evidence to support the jury's finding of guilt on one count of murder, three counts of attempted murder and one count of conspiracy.

The court noted that there were no fingerprints or DNA evidence to link Williams to the crime and Williams also disavowed his videotaped confession. But it said there was "ample eyewitness testimony" identifying Williams as the man who killed Reggie Ezill, 25, in 2001.

Williams was also found guilty of shooting at some witnesses the next day, hitting two of them.

He was sentenced to consecutive life terms with parole eligibility after 40 years.

In another case the court refused to grant a new penalty hearing to a woman who was sentenced 16 to 40 years for rolling her pickup truck in Lyon County, killing two children and injuring others.

Kimberly Kautz pleaded guilty to two counts of DUI causing death. She was the driver of a pickup truck that swerved and rolled. At the time of the accident, seven children were riding in the bed of the pickup and two children were riding in the cab, without seatbelts.

Authorities say she was under the influence of alcohol with a measurable amount of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, also in her blood.

In her appeal Kautz objected to allowing parents of the victims to give victim impact statements at her sentencing hearing without being sworn in.

The court said it has ruled in a previous case that a victim must be sworn in prior to testifying at a sentencing proceeding. But in this case, the court said it was a harmless error because District Judge Archie Blake did not base his sentence on the unsworn testimony.

Kautz was originally charged with two counts of DUI causing the death of another and six counts of DUI causing substantial bodily harm. But the state dropped the six counts when she pleaded guilty to the two counts of DUI causing death.

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