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December 22, 2014

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News of client’s confession to stabbing pregnant woman comes as surprise to public defender

Elinor Indico

Elinor Indico

A public defender said he’s puzzled by prosecutors’ revelations that his client, accused of stabbing her pregnant sister-in-law to death in October, gave a previously undisclosed full confession with no specter of self-defense.

“This is the strangest thing I’ve seen, and I’ve been doing this 23 years now,” said Norman Reed, a deputy public defender.

Reed represents Elinor Indico, a 31-year-old Las Vegas woman charged in Clark County District Court with killing her sister-in-law — who was nine months pregnant — on Oct. 16, 2013, at her brother and sister-in-law’s home.

A grand jury in November charged Indico with counts of murder, manslaughter of an unborn child, and child abuse, neglect or endangerment in connection with the Oct. 16 death of Ashley Indico and her unborn child.

All along, Reed had contended it was a classic case of self-defense: Elinor Indico, who was living with her brother and sister-in-law, had been told to vacate the home by the end of the week and got into a fight with Ashley Indico over the living arrangement. Elinor Indico maintained she had been attacked by Ashley Indico, fought back in self-defense and had suffered stab wounds to prove it.

Last month, Reed filed a motion asking why prosecutors didn’t present evidence to the grand jury that Elinor Indico told police the stabbing was in self-defense. The prosecution’s response, also made in a court filing, puzzled Reed: Elinor Indico’s self-defense argument didn’t hold up because she confessed.

A Metro Police arrest report notes two interviews Elinor Indico had with detectives at University Medical Center, where she was taken after the incident for treatment of her wounds. In the first interview, she denied stabbing Ashley Indico. In the second, Elinor Indico admitted stabbing her sister-in-law but said Ashley Indico overpowered her and got “stab crazy” before Elinor Indico was able to lock herself in a bathroom and call 911.

Now according to prosecutors, a third interview took place in which Elinor Indico told detectives she chased Ashley Indico when she tried to escape through the front door of the house. Asked whether she stabbed Ashley Indico, the defendant said, “yep” and “um, yeah.”

When a detective pressed Elinor Indico about her stab wounds, she admitted she’d accidentally injured herself during the fight, according to court papers filed by the prosecution.

Reed received audio of the new interview a few days ago and said Friday he didn’t understand why, if the statement actually constitutes a confession, prosecutors waited to divulge it. Confessions, Reed noted, are big, splashy news — the kind of evidence prosecutors and homicide detectives are eager to get on the record.

Attempts Friday to reach David Stanton, lead prosecutor on the case for the Clark County District Attorney's Office, were unsuccessful.

Reed said the revelation raises many questions, including what Elinor Indico’s state of mind was during the third interview, especially since Reed thinks it may have happened shortly after his client underwent surgery.

Elinor Indico is scheduled to go to trial Jan. 21, but Reed said he planned to ask District Judge Stefany Miley on Monday for more time to review the new evidence and meet with his client about it.

Elinor Indico remains in Clark County Detention Center without bail, according to jail records.

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