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April 19, 2014

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Nine headline-grabbing capital murder cases still pending

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Steve Marcus

Deputy Special Public Defender David Schieck, defense attorney for Ammar Harris, the suspect the Feb. 21 Las Vegas Strip shooting and car crash that killed three people,listens to Justice of the Peace Deborah Lippis in court at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday, April 17, 2013.

It takes time for justice to be served — and, with death-penalty cases, that can mean years.

There are currently 65 defendants in Clark County who are awaiting trial on capital charges, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said. Some of the cases are retrials; most are not.

At one time, many of those defendants’ names were splashed across headlines and newscasts as the community clamored for more information about the latest grisly crime. Then months, and maybe years, passed.

Here’s a look at a few Clark County capital cases still pending:

  • Brenda Stokes Wilson

    Former blackjack dealer Brenda Stokes Wilson, 50, is accused of killing 10-year-old Jade Morris and going to the Bellagio and attacking a co-worker.

    Wilson was arrested on Dec. 21 at the Strip resort after she slashed the face of fellow blackjack dealer Joyce Rhone, according to police reports.

    Earlier that day, Wilson had taken Morris, her ex-boyfriend’s daughter, out shopping.

    The girl never returned home, triggering a search that led to the discovery of her body six days later.

    The Clark County Coroner’s Office determined Morris died from multiple stab wounds.

    A grand jury indicted Wilson on charges of first-degree kidnapping, murder, burglary, attempted murder, battery resulting in substantial bodily harm and mayhem — all with use of a deadly weapon

    Trial is set for June 23, 2014, in front of District Judge Kathleen Delaney.

  • Bayzle Morgan

    Bayzle Morgan, 22, is an ex-convict accused of robbing, pistol-whipping and fatally shooting a 75-year-old woman.

    Morgan has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of first-degree murder, robbery, burglary and kidnapping.

    On May 21, Jean Main was found dead in her bathroom, where police believe Morgan cornered her while robbing her home in the 8000 block of Green Pasture Avenue.

    Main’s purse, a laptop, a tablet computer and $800 were missing from her home, but blood that didn’t belong to Main was left behind, according to police reports.

    The blood led police to Morgan, who denied involvement but was arrested after police questioned several of his friends, according to reports.

    Trial is set for June 24, 2014, in front of District Judge Michelle Leavitt.

  • Ammar Harris

    Ammar Harris, 27, is accused of the spectacular Las Vegas Strip shooting that ended in an exploding taxi cab and left three people dead.

    Early Feb. 21, an argument at the valet of the Aria with rapper Kenneth Cherry Jr. morphed into a high-speed car chase. Harris, from his Range Rover, shot at Cherry’s Maserati as the two drove down Las Vegas Boulevard, according to police.

    After running a red light at Flamingo Road, the Maserati smashed into a taxi cab, which burst into flames, killing driver Michael Bolden, 62, and passenger Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, 48, a businesswoman from Maple Valley, Wash.

    Cherry died from a gunshot wound.

    Harris faces three charges of first-degree murder and one charge of attempted murder.

    The case is set to go to trial on Dec. 2 in front of District Judge Kathleen Delaney.

  • David Burns

    David James Burns, also known as “D-Shot”, 21, is accused in a drug-related shooting that killed a Las Vegas woman and critically injured her 12-year-old daughter.

    Burns, 18 at the time, is accused of fatally shooting Derecia Newman, 28, and wounding her daughter while he and two others robbed Newman's apartment on Aug. 7, 2010.

    A grand jury indicted Burns on charges of conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit murder, burglary while in possession of a firearm, two counts of robbery with use of a deadly weapon, murder with use of a deadly weapon, attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon and battery with a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm.

    A trial is set for Oct. 7 in front of District Judge Jerome Tao.

  • Maurice Sims

    Maurice Sims

    Maurice Sims, 23, is one of four people accused in an apartment robbery Jan. 8 that left two people dead and one person wounded.

    Sims, his girlfriend Sasha Williams and a friend showed up at an apartment at 370 E. Harmon Ave., so that Williams could collect a debt she thought was owed, according to police reports.

    After forcing their way into the apartment and subduing the three occupants, Laurice Brightman, Anthony Anderson and Evin Russell, they began to hunt for valuables.

    After about 15 minutes, Anderson revolted and the other victims followed. Brightman was shot in the buttocks before escaping out a window.

    When Metro arrived, officers found the bodies of Anderson and Russell.

    Sims is charged with conspiracy to commit battery, two counts of murder with a deadly weapon, attempted murder with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by an ex-felon, battery with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit burglary, burglary while in possession of a firearm, conspiracy to commit robbery, three counts of robbery with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit murder.

    Trial is set for March 3, 2014, in front of District Judge Douglas Herndon.

  • Prentice Marshall

    Prentice Marshall was 18 when he was arrested in connection with a deadly gang-related gun battle at the home of Metro Officer Trevor Nettleton.

    Marshall, now 22, was one of six members of the Wood gang whom Metro linked to Nettleton's death. Nettleton had arrived home shortly after midnight Nov. 19, 2009, when he was confronted in his garage.

    Nettleton exchanged gunfire with his attackers before his death.

    Marshall was arrested after being treated at University Medical Center for a gunshot wound.

    At first Marshall told detectives he’d been injured while someone was trying to rob him. Later, he told police he had been involved in the gun battle.

    Marshall is charged with one count of murder with a deadly weapon with the intent to promote, further or assist a criminal gang. He also faces one count of conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary while in possession of a firearm and attempted robbery, all with criminal gang enhancements.

    Trial is set for Nov. 18 in front of District Judge Jessie Walsh.

  • Norman Belcher

    Norman Belcher, 38, has been sitting in a Clark County Detention Center jail cell since Dec. 6, 2010.

    That’s the day Metro Police allege he broke into a southwest valley home and opened fire, killing 15-year-old Alexus Postorino and critically injuring another man. Police say Belcher had an ongoing feud with the girl’s father related to drug money.

    Belcher has been charged with murder with a deadly weapon, attempted murder with a deadly weapon, burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon, battery with a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm, third-degree arson and two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon.

    A jury trial has been scheduled for Nov. 12.

  • Javier Righetti

    Metro Police arrested Javier Righetti at his home, a mile from where the burned body of 15-year-old Alyssa Otremba was found Sept. 6, 2011.

    Police allege Righetti, 21, kidnapped Otremba, a sophomore and band member at Arbor View High School, stabbed her at least 40 times and then burned her body and abandoned it in a desert area.

    Police say Righetti confessed to the crime, as well as an earlier attack on another girl.

    A grand jury indicted Righetti on charges of murder with a deadly weapon, two counts of sexual assault with a deadly weapon with a victim under 16, first-degree kidnapping with a deadly weapon, robbery with a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping, attempted sexual assault with a victim under 16, battery with intent to commit strangulation and attempted robbery.

    Righetti’s jury trial is scheduled for March 31, 2014.

  • Bryan Clay

    When detectives arrested Bryan Clay, he said he would rather die than go to jail.

    He’s still there, awaiting trial for his alleged killings of Yadira Martinez and her 10-year-old daughter, Karla Martinez-Sanchez.

    Metro Police say Clay, 23, broke into the family’s Las Vegas home April 15, 2012, and — armed with a hammer — sexually assaulted the mother and daughter before killing them. Yadira Martinez’s husband, Arturo Martinez-Sanchez, also was gravely wounded in the attack.

    Clay’s DNA matched DNA evidence found on the victim’s bodies, police said. Metro Police arrested Clay on April 27, 2012.

    A Clark County grand jury indicted Clay on two counts of murder with a deadly weapon, two counts of sexual assault with a deadly weapon with a victim under 14 and single counts of attempted murder with a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping, sexual assault, sexual assault with a deadly weapon and burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon.

    His jury trial is scheduled for April 14, 2014.

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