Published Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 | 9:19 a.m.
Updated Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 | 4:46 p.m.
A judge increased bail to $600,000 for Brenda Stokes, accused of attacking a coworker at the Bellagio, as police continue investigating the death of 10-year-old Jade Morris.
Stokes, 50, was arrested Friday night after a coworker at the Bellagio was attacked with razor blades. The victim, blackjack dealer Joyce Rhone, survived the assault.
Stokes, who appeared in Las Vegas Justice Court this morning, has been charged with burglary, battery with a deadly weapon and mayhem with a deadly weapon, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.
Several hours before the Bellagio incident, Stokes picked up Morris, the daughter of a man she dated, to go shopping, authorities said.
The girl never returned home, triggering a search by authorities, family, friends and volunteers.
On Thursday, six days after Morris disappeared, a man walking his dog in North Las Vegas found the body of a small, black female. Friday afternoon, hours after Stokes' court hearing, the Clark County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as Morris. The coroner's office said the girl had died of multiple stab and incised wounds. The death was classified as a homicide, but as of late Friday afternoon no charges had been filed in the death.
Robert Daskas, chief deputy district attorney, argued for increased bail during Friday morning's hearing.
Daskas said police found blood on and inside the car Stokes was driving when she picked up Morris. In addition, police recovered bloody clothes inside Stokes’ apartment unit, Daskas said.
Authorities are awaiting the results of a DNA analysis to determine the source of the blood, Daskas said.
Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure accepted the prosecution’s recommendation of $600,000 bail — $200,000 for each count Stokes faces. Stokes was previously being held on $60,000 bail.
“There’s a potential window of opportunity where the defendant could flee the jurisdiction” if she posts bail, Daskas said.
Bonaventure told Stokes’ attorney, Tony Liker, he could file a motion to reduce bail before the defendant’s next court appearance, scheduled for Jan. 2.
A shackled Stokes was surrounded by seven court marshals as she stood and listened during the hearing.
After the hearing, family members rattled off a list of endearing qualities about Morris: smart, loving and always calling home to check in with her mother.
Phil Tucker, Morris’ paternal grandfather, said Morris knew Stokes and loved her. They often went shopping together, he said.
“That’s probably the saddest part,” he said.
Tucker said Stokes and Rhone, the victim in the attack at the Bellagio, were “best friends” who socialized outside of work, including a birthday party for Stokes in November.
But, Tucker said, Stokes “thought my son and Joyce (Rhone) were too friendly at the birthday party.”