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July 23, 2014

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Bail set at $250,000 for man accused of dumping woman in desert

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Harold Marin-Velasquez

Bail was set at $250,000 this morning for a man charged with murder in the death of a woman whose body was found Saturday near a quarry in the desert outside Boulder City.

Harold Marin-Velasquez, 34, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 43-year-old Edis Hernandez-Quintanilla.

At a hearing Wednesday morning in Las Vegas Justice Court, prosecutor Pam Weckerly requested that Marin-Velasquez continue to be held without bail, saying the “proof in this case is pretty substantial.”

According to a Metro Police arrest report, Marin-Velasquez confessed to the crime while being questioned at the Boulder City Police Department and was found to have dried blood on his clothing.

His attorney, Heidi Almase, asked for a maximum bail of $25,000. She said her client wasn’t a flight risk and had significant ties to the community, including 11 years of employment at a Strip casino and the ownership of two homes.

Five family members were in court to show support for him, she said, and he has only one prior conviction for a misdemeanor offense.

Weckerly argued that jumping from a misdemeanor to murder showed Marin-Velasquez posed a serious threat to the community. She said if bail was going to be set, it should be at least $1 million, but would prefer that he be held without bail.

Justice of the Peace Robert Walsh, who was sitting on the bench for Nancy Oesterle, set bail at $250,000. A preliminary hearing date was set for June 2.

Almase hinted during arguments about a possible defense but declined to comment on the case after the hearing.

Police found Hernandez-Quintanilla’s body at about 9:30 a.m. Saturday, shortly after stopping Marin-Velasquez, who had been seen walking in the area before leaving at a high rate of speed in his 2004 GMC Yukon, according to an arrest report.

Officers became suspicious after seeing condoms, eyeliner and a Nevada driver’s license for Hernandez-Quintanilla on the floor of his vehicle. They also noted Marin-Velasquez appeared to be intoxicated and smelled of alcohol.

The report noted that he had dried blood on his shirt and pants and his clothing appeared to be disheveled. An officer returned to the area where Marin-Velasquez had been seen and found Hernandez-Quintanilla’s body. The officers were able to determine that her identity matched the driver’s license in Marin-Velasquez’s vehicle, the report said.

The Clark County Coroner’s Office said she died of asphyxiation and ruled her death a homicide.

Marin-Velasquez was taken to the Boulder City Police Department for questioning. As police were collecting his clothing and scraping his fingernails for DNA, he made the statement that, “I don’t know why you are doing all this, I have blood on my hands; I’m guilty,” the report stated.

In a subsequent interview with police, Marin-Velasquez told detectives he met Hernandez-Quintanilla at the Silver Saddle Saloon on Charleston Boulevard and Fremont Street, the report said. He told detectives the woman had agreed to have sex with him for $50, but an altercation arose when she asked for more money, the report stated. The two began struggling inside his Yukon.

A man who had been in the bar and helped to arrange the transaction got into the Yukon at one point, but Marin-Velasquez, who claimed to police he had martial arts training, struck the man and he exited the vehicle, the report said.

Marin-Velasquez told officers Hernandez-Quintanilla began choking him but he was able to deflect her; he then began choking her until she went limp, the report said.

He told police he believed he was in Arizona when he dumped the body.

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