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July 23, 2014

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Suicide attempt delays hearing for legal runner accused in shootings

The arraignment of a legal runner accused of multiple felony counts in connection with a deadly home invasion was postponed this morning because the man was recovering from a suicide attempt.

Gregory L. Hover, 38, is recovering at a local hospital after attempting to kill himself Tuesday night at the Clark County Detention Center, Metro Police spokesman Officer Bill Cassell said.

Hover was set to be arraigned Wednesday morning on charges of 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 in connection with an attack in the early morning hours of Jan. 25 that left Julio Romero, 64, dead and his wife, Roberta Romero, seriously wounded.

Police wouldn’t release other details, but Cassell said “officers intervened and probably saved his life.”

Hover, a process server who worked for a legal firm serving civil papers, is accused of returning to the Romeros' home, near the intersection of Jones Boulevard and Russell Road, in the early morning hours of Jan. 25, a few hours after he had been there in an attempt to locate another man who Hover said owed $10,000 in a civil matter.

The Romeros, who were friends with Santiago Pozzi, the man Hover was seeking, told Hover they hadn’t seen him in more than two years. At that point, Hover left, according to a report detailing what Roberta Romero told police.

Roberta Romero told investigators that at about 12:30 a.m. Jan. 25 she was awakened by noises in her kitchen and found a man with a silver, semiautomatic handgun standing in her home.

At that point, the man forced her to give him her wallet, then forced her upstairs into a bedroom closet while he went through dresser drawers, according to a police report. His cell phone rang while he was rustling through the Romeros' belongings and shortly thereafter he opened the closet door and shot at Roberta Romero, striking her in the face.

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 Julio 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 Richard Freeman, a friend of Hover’s who said he was with Hover the night the Romeros were shot. He said he had pawned several items allegedly taken from the Romeros' home.

Authorities said Freeman isn’t facing charges but the investigation is ongoing.

Police identified Hover through civil records for the action against Pozzi. Roberta Romero was able to identify him from a photo lineup.

Hover was interviewed Friday and admitted to police he was 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, police said.

Hover is now scheduled to be arraigned at 8 a.m. Friday in Las Vegas Justice Court.

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