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September 2, 2014

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Man accused in officer’s death has charges dropped in separate robbery

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Saul Williams Jr. appears in District Court during an arraignment at the Regional Justice Center on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009. Six defendants entered not guilty pleas to charges related to the slaying of Metro Police officer Trevor Nettleton.

District Court Arraignment

From left to right, Saul Williams Jr., Quadrae Scott, Prentice Marshall, Michael Ferguson, Emmitt Ferguson and Adrian Pena appear in District Court during an initial arraignment at the Regional Justice Center on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009. The defendants entered not guilty pleas to charges related to the slaying of Metro Police officer Trevor Nettleton last month. Launch slideshow »

Two felony counts stemming from a robbery that took place shortly before the slaying of an off-duty Metro Police officer in North Las Vegas were dismissed against one of the six alleged gang members accused in the death during a hearing this morning in district court.

Saul Williams Jr., 20, is no longer facing counts of conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery with a deadly weapon in connection with a robbery that occurred in the same area of North Las Vegas where Officer Trevor Nettleton lived shortly before he was shot to death in his garage. A judge agreed there was insufficient evidence to link him to the robbery.

Nettleton, a three-year Metro Police veteran, had arrived home from work on Nov. 19, 2009, when he was confronted and shot in his garage.

Williams and his co-defendants, Prentice Marshall, 18, Quadrae Scott, 18, and Adrian Pena, 18, are facing a number of gang-enhanced felonies in connection with Nettleton’s murder. Brothers Michael Ferguson, 26, and Emmitt Ferguson, 18, are charged as accessories.

Williams, along with Marshall, Scott and Pena, was additionally facing charges of conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery, both charges with deadly weapon and gang enhancements, in connection with an incident during which a 19-year-old’s iPod and backpack were taken at gunpoint.

Pena was allegedly driving his black Monte Carlo when Marshall, armed with a gun, got out and robbed the man of his personal property. The man was later able to pick Marshall out of a lineup and cell phone records linked Pena to the scene, grand jury testimony indicates.

Prosecutors said Williams was in the car at the time of the robbery.

District Court Judge David Wall dismissed the two counts against Williams today after arguments from Williams’ attorney, Dan Silverstein.

Silverstein said there wasn’t evidence Williams was involved in the robbery.

“The state wants the court to assume because they were in the car together later that night, after midnight when they went to the Nettleton house, that means they must have been together earlier in the night. That’s just not true,” Silverstein said. “There’s no evidence connecting Mr. Williams to the prior robbery.”

Prosecutor Pamela Weckerly said at least two people had been involved in the robbery. Williams was charged after Marshall told investigators Williams had been with him since 11 p.m. that night. The robbery occurred at about 11:45 p.m., she said.

Wall agreed with Silverstein and said sufficient evidence hadn’t been presented to the grand jury to cause Williams to answer to those counts.

Silverstein also argued for the entire indictment to be dismissed, saying the grand jurors who deliberated in the case were biased and that exculpatory evidence wasn’t presented to them, which Wall denied.

Separately, attorneys for Michael Ferguson argued for the charge of accessory to murder with a criminal gang enhancement to be stricken, but Wall denied that request saying sufficient evidence had been presented to the grand jury.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Williams and Marshall in the case, which is scheduled to go to trial in February 2011.

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