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September 15, 2014

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Two mothers brace for sentencing in killing of Luxor dancer

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Jason Griffith, right, is charged with murder in the death of dancer Debbie Flores Narvaez.

A suspenseful day awaits two mothers preparing to meet on opposite ends of a Clark County courtroom on Wednesday for the sentencing of Jason Griffith, a performer convicted of killing his showgirl ex-girlfriend nearly four years ago.

Debbie Flores Narvaez’s mother, Elsie Narvaez, plans to ask the judge to impose the strictest punishment possible on her daughter's ex-boyfriend, a man whom she describes as "arrogant, heartless, cold and calculating."

Griffith's mother, Charlene Davis, maintains her son's innocence. She says Griffith was only defending himself when Flores died attacking him at Griffith's home on Dec. 12, 2012. Davis said Flores was a violent, abusive woman who stalked Griffith and assaulted him more than a dozen times during their stormy year-long relationship.

The sentencing will come two months after Griffith was convicted of second-degree murder on May 22.

'We want this case to end'

Narvaez, who struggles speaking English and isn't one for giving speeches, says she's prepared a few words for Judge Kathleen Delaney. If she succeeds, the judge could put Griffith behind bars for life.

"How can we set a person like that loose? Someone who can be so blind to the life of another human being needs to get life," Narvaez said in Spanish. "If (Delaney) only gives him the minimum sentence of 25 years, this would be devastating to us."

Relatives said they seek closure from Griffith's sentencing. The worse is now over, Narvaez said, recalling hours of lurid testimony and photos of her daughter's dismembered corpse during the trial.

Whatever Delaney decides, Narvaez has faith that Griffith will ultimately pay for the crime.

"Karma will do us justice," Narvaez said. "We just want this case to end so that we can have some peace of mind."

'This is not right'

The case is far from over for Griffith and his loved ones. Defense attorneys plan to appeal his conviction after sentencing.

"We're looking forward to the appeal. There are some arguments to be made that have a lot of merit," defense attorney Abel Yanez said, noting that the judge prevented him from showing jurors a video of Flores attacking his client.

Davis hopes those appeals will eventually free her son from prison and absolve him of guilt in Flores' death.

Outside of the courtroom, Davis worries the jury was swayed because the case received so much media attention.

"There has been so much pressure from the media, and that's why he's in this situation," Davis said. "This is not right."

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