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July 28, 2014

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Police: Legal runner returned to home, shot husband and wife

UPDATED STORY: Suicide attempt delays hearing for legal runner accused in shootings

A man who worked for a legal runner firm serving civil papers is facing murder, kidnapping and robbery charges after a husband and wife he served papers on were attacked last month in their Las Vegas home.

Gregory L. Hover, 38, was arrested Saturday in connection with the shootings of Roberta and Julio Romero. Julio Romero was shot dead in his home in southwestern Las Vegas in the early morning hours of Jan. 25. His wife, Roberta, was shot in the face, but survived.

A criminal complaint was filed today charging Hover with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping, each count with a deadly weapon; two counts of robbery with use of a deadly weapon; two counts of burglary, with one burglary count enhanced with use of a deadly weapon; attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon; and one count of coercion with use of a deadly weapon.

According to an arrest report, Hover first made contact with the Romeros when he came to their home, near the intersection of Jones Boulevard and Russell Road, on Jan. 24 in search of a person named Santiago Pozzi. Pozzi, a friend of the Romeros, owed $10,000, Hover said, telling the couple he had legal papers he needed to serve on Pozzi, the report indicated.

The Romeros told Hover they hadn’t seen Pozzi in two years. Hover then asked who lived in the home with the couple, to which the Romeros replied it was just the two of them.

At that point, Hover apologized for the inconvenience and left, the report says. The Romeros then went to bed.

At about 12:30 a.m. Jan. 25, Roberta Romero was awakened by noises in her kitchen and found Hover, who had been at her house earlier that evening, inside her home. He had a silver, semiautomatic handgun, she told police.

Roberta Romero asked the man, later identified as Hover, where her husband was. Hover motioned for her to come into the kitchen and said everything was all right, she told police. When she approached him, he pointed his gun at her and demanded money, the report said.

Roberta Romero gave the man her wallet and the PIN number for her ATM card. The man then forced her into a bedroom closet while he went through some dresser drawers; his cell phone rang and shortly thereafter he opened the closet door and fired at Roberta Romero, striking her in the face, the police report said.

She waited about 15 minutes, then called 911. When police responded, they found her husband dead in another bedroom, authorities said.

The Clark County Coroner’s Office said today that Romero died from a gunshot wound to the head. The death was ruled a homicide, a coroner’s spokeswoman said.

Roberta Romero was taken to University Medical Center for treatment of her injuries.

As the investigation continued, police learned that Roberta Romero’s ATM card had been used at a convenience store shortly after the shootings and obtained surveillance video images of the person who withdrew cash. Investigators later identified the man in the tape as a friend of Hover, who said he was with Hover the night the Romeros were shot. Police also learned the man had pawned several items allegedly taken from the Romeros' home.

Investigators learned several pieces of jewelry were reported missing from the home, including their wedding bands.

Police later traced the civil court action filed against Pozzi to a local law firm, which provided investigators with an affidavit of attempted service in the case signed by Gregory Hover.

Hover was registered with Metro Police as working as a process server.

On Thursday, police took a photographic lineup to UMC and Roberta Romero was able to identify Hover. He was interviewed by detectives on Friday and admitted to being at the Romero residence on Jan. 24 but said he left and never returned. The interview ended when Hover requested to speak with an attorney, the report said.

Detectives then interviewed Hover’s friend, Richard Freeman, who had been identified as the man seen on the convenience store surveillance tape. Freeman said he wasn’t involved in the alleged crimes but had been with Hover that night and had pawned some of the jewelry Hover had allegedly taken. Freeman told police Hover told him Hover had bound the man with duct tape and shot the man in the head, then made the woman in the house give Hover money before Hover shot her in the face.

Records indicate Freeman isn’t facing charges.

Hover is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday morning in Las Vegas Justice Court.

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