Las Vegas Sun

April 18, 2014

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Bethany Barnes

Crime reporter

Bethany joined the Las Vegas Sun in 2013 after finishing up a master's in journalism at the University of Arizona. She became addicted to journalism while  working on her bachelor's in creative nonfiction. What started out as a midnight response to a job posting at her student paper became a calling. Before joining the Sun, Bethany covered the Arizona Legislature as the Don Bolles Fellow. Bethany's reporting has appeared in the Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Weekly, Tombstone Epitaph, Sierra Vista Herald, Green Valley News, Sahuarita Sun, Homeless Voice (Fort Lauderdale) and the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

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Story Archive

Months after deadly scuffle, question lingers: Was justice served?
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Last summer, Donald “JJ” Harris was on security patrol at a downtown apartment complex when he died in a confrontation with a drifter. His friends are wondering why the D.A.'s Office...
Bail for 2nd suspect in pet shop fire set at $310K; D.A. moves to clear way for pups' adoption
Friday, Feb. 28, 2014
Firefighters rescued 27 puppies from a fire last month at a Las Vegas pet store. Two people have been accused of arson in that blaze. But what has become of the puppies?

The dog ate my summons — and other unique excuses to get out of jury duty
Friday, Feb. 28, 2014
For many Clark County residents, serving on a jury is stressful and time-consuming, so some people get pretty creative when trying to get out of their civic duty.
Woman found guilty of baby's beating death is out on bail
Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014
The judge who oversaw the trial of Mariann Harris, who was convicted in October 2013 of first-degree murder, recently ruled that Harris deserves a new trial because ...
Suspect accused of killing wife over divorce request may face death penalty
Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014
The man accused of stabbing his wife to death because he didn't want a divorce waived his right to a preliminary hearing today, sending his case on the path to trial.
Metro busy explaining decision to quit responding to minor wrecks
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014
Metro Police held a news conference and released a public service announcement to explain a new policy that at its root, officials say, is aimed at curtailing traffic fatalities.
Man fights attempted murder charge in machete attack
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014
Defense attorneys for Armando Vergara-Martinez say he's not guilty of attempted murder in the March 2012 attack on Maria Gomez because ...
Man who stabbed dog because he 'wanted to' will plead guilty
Monday, Feb. 24, 2014
The man who told an officer he slit the throat of his family’s pet because he liked to hurt dogs agreed to plead guilty today during a hearing in Las Vegas Township Justice Court.
Victim of machete attack remembered at rally prior to beginning of suspect's trial
Monday, Feb. 24, 2014
From the steps of the Regional Justice Center, the activists against domestic violence cried out in Spanish and English, “If I can’t use my hands, I will use my voice!” Of the 20 participants in a rally Monday, at least 10 wore sashes with the words “survivor” draped over their chests, indicating that they had escaped domestic abuse.
Widower, in court, lashes out at sister accused of stabbing pregnant woman to death
Monday, Feb. 24, 2014
Clark County District Judge Stefany Miley today denied defense efforts to send a case involving the October 2013 death of a pregnant woman back to a Clark County grand jury.
Pet store owner asserts her innocence in court hearing
Alleged co-conspirator also appears in court
Monday, Feb. 24, 2014
A woman accused of setting fire to her Las Vegas pet shop and endangering 27 puppies left inside it pleaded not guilty today to the 31 charges she faces in Clark County District Court.
Woman pleads guilty in shooting of motorist on Las Vegas Strip
Monday, Feb. 24, 2014
A woman accused of shooting a man in the neck in what authorities described as a road-rage shooting on the Las Vegas Strip pleaded guilty in Clark County District Court today.
Supporters of victim in 2012 machete attack rally today as suspect's trial begins
Maria Gomez died of cancer six months after grisly hacking
Monday, Feb. 24, 2014
Maria Gomez thought after she’d managed to survive a 2012 machete attack that severed her hands, she’d be able to see justice brought to the ex-boyfriend who Gomez said left her maimed. Then came the diagnosis: uterine cancer. Gomez died Sept. 5, 2012, six months after the March, 21, 2012, attack outside the Green Valley Grocery, 530 E. Craig Road. She was 53.
Hearing delayed for man arrested in pet store fire
Friday, Feb. 21, 2014
A man accused of helping a pet store owner set her shop on fire, nearly killing 27 puppies, will wait until next week to argue for bail.
Lawyer says plea agreement close for ex-cop accused of theft
Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014
Attorneys were close to reaching a plea agreement in the case of a former Metro Police officer accused of using a department-issued gas card to fuel his mother’s car, his lawyer said today.
Lethal drug cocktail blamed in death of former prosecutor
Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014
A lethal but accidental combination of prescription drugs is to blame for the death of a former prosecutor late last year, the Clark County Coroner’s Office has ruled.
DA no longer naming sex-crime victims in court documents
Policy put in place as protection, assistant district attorney says
Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014
Prosecutors also will work to make sure victims’ names are not accidentally released by defense attorneys by asking a judge to file motions that list victims’ names under seal, according to a memo sent last week to the District Attorney’s Office’s criminal division.
Bail remains at $310K for business owner accused of arson in pet shop fire
Protesters keep up pressure for harsh penalties
Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014
A Las Vegas Township judge today refused to budge on bail for the woman accused of nearly killing 27 puppies during what authorities say was an arson fire last month at her pet shop.
Suspect indicted in holdup, beating of man in Circus Circus parking lot
Friday, Feb. 7, 2014
Two people suspected in at least two armed robberies in December, including one in the parking lot of a Strip casino, were indicted today.
Judge sets bail for pet shop owner accused of arson at $310,000
Friday, Feb. 7, 2014
A Las Vegas business owner accused of arranging a fire at her pet shop must post $310,000 bail to go back on house arrest.
Judge may force UMC to hire special master to secure evidence in suit alleging unpaid overtime
Friday, Feb. 7, 2014
University Medical Center, which continues to hemorrhage taxpayer funds, may have to hire a court-appointed lawyer if it cannot turn over evidence in a lawsuit over pay issues that could involve thousands of employees.
Additional charges filed in pet shop fire; warrant issued for alleged co-conspirator
Protesters march outside courthouse, demanding justice for 27 puppies
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014
The legal net widened today in the case of a suspected arson fire last month at a Las Vegas pet shop, with prosecutors filing charges against an alleged co-conspirator.
Court approves pact designed to improve mental health services for county inmates deemed incompetent
Monday, Feb. 3, 2014
Southern Nevada is on its way to again having a facility for treating incompetent criminal defendants after a federal judge last week approved an agreement settling a lawsuit. The consent decree, approved Wednesday by U.S District Judge Miranda M. Du, outlines a plan with staggered goals to fix delays in providing treatment for criminal defendants who have been deemed incompetent by the court.
D.A. wants court to decide if Clark County judicial candidate is eligible to run for office
Friday, Jan. 31, 2014
The Clark County District Attorney’s Office has asked a judicial candidate to prove he’s qualified to seek election. The order comes after Clark County District Judge Michael Villani filed a challenge alleging his opponent for the Department 17 post, Ross Smillie, didn’t meet legal requirements to run for judge.
Indictments charge duo with multiple felonies in alleged carjacking, subsequent high-speed chase
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014
Two men were indicted today, accused of carjacking a vehicle last month, leading police on a high-speed chase, ramming the stolen car into a patrol car and shooting at a police officer. Hugo Baldovinos, 21, and Roland Gabaldon, 17, are charged with more than a dozen felonies, many with deadly weapon enhancements, including robbery, assault, attempted murder, discharging a firearm out of a motor vehicle and grand larceny auto.
Suspect shot in December by Metro Police now under indictment
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014
A man shot last month as Metro Police officers were trying to arrest him is now under indictment.
Judge delays sentencing for Saudi airman convicted in rape of teen
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014
A Clark County judge today allowed a change in lawyers for the Saudi airman convicted of sexually assaulting a teenager on New Year’s Eve 2012 at a Las Vegas Strip casino.
18 months after attack, family still bears physical, emotional scars
Father of five sentenced for attempted murder of wife, son
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014
Maria Robles almost bled to death at the hands of her husband on her 31st birthday. She fell on the knife, her husband told the judge. “It’s hard to get stabbed nine times by yourself,” Clark County District Judge Michael Villani said last week when he sentenced Robles’ husband, Mario Alejandro Lopez, to 84 years in prison.
2 arrested after Strip shooting plead not guilty
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014
A couple indicted following a Las Vegas Strip shooting that Metro Police said was the result of road rage pleaded not guilty today in Clark County District Court.
Former middle school coach accepts plea deal in lewdness case
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
A fired Las Vegas middle school teacher and coach accused of committing lewd acts has reached a plea agreement with Clark County prosecutors.
Grand jury indicts man accused of killing wife with vacuum cleaner
Friday, Jan. 17, 2014
A Clark County grand jury has indicted a man accused of fatally beating his wife with a vacuum cleaner. Anthony Tyron Mayo, 38, was indicted today on felony counts including murder, battery and coercion.
Trial scheduled for woman accused in fatal bar fight
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014
The woman accused in a fatal stabbing in November outside a Maryland Parkway bar pleaded not guilty today in Clark County District Court. Hearing Master Melisa De La Garza set a Sept. 8 trial date for Sarah Chavez, 22, Las Vegas, who is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Misty Madera, 30, outside Champagnes Cafe, 3557 S. Maryland Parkway
Fired Metro cop pleads not guilty to lewdness, indecent exposure
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014
A former Metro Police officer accused of sexually harassing two women while on the job pleaded not guilty this morning in Clark County District Court.
Hearing set for man accused of killing wife after she asked for divorce
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014
A man police allege stabbed his wife to death after she asked for a divorce will have his case reviewed by a judge next month to determine if there is enough evidence to send him to trial.
Former CCSD teacher facing kidnapping, porn charges may need to find new attorney
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014
The District Court arraignment for former kindergarten teacher Melvyn Perry Sprowson Jr., accused of harboring a runaway teen and producing pornography with her, has been continued so his defense team can evaluate if it can continue to represent him.
Woman, man indicted following shooting on Las Vegas Strip
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014
A woman was indicted today on charges stemming from what police described as a road-rage-fueled shooting on the Las Vegas Strip.
Language barrier delays arraignment for man accused of killing wife
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014
Arraignment of a man accused of stabbing his wife to death was delayed this morning because of the judge's language-barrier concerns.
Las Vegas attorney charged with theft of more than $1 million from clients
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014
Suspended Las Vegas attorney Barry Levinson was arraigned today on charges accusing him of stealing more than $1 million from clients.
Defense granted trial delay in case involving fatal stabbing of pregnant woman
Monday, Jan. 13, 2014
Public defenders will get more time to review previously undisclosed evidence that prosecutors contend includes a Las Vegas woman’s confession in a case involving her stabbing her pregnant sister-in-law to death last year, a judge ruled today. The Public Defender’s Office received an audio recording of the alleged confession last week in the case against Elinor Indico, 31.
News of client's confession to stabbing pregnant woman comes as surprise to public defender
Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014
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.
Man accused of taking upskirt photos is banned from the Strip
Friday, Jan. 10, 2014
The man accused of taking upskirt photos of women will have to stay off the Strip and out of trouble for one year if he wants the case against him dismissed.
Suspect waives preliminary hearing in woman's stabbing death outside bar
Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014
A 22-year-old woman arrested in the stabbing death of another woman outside a Maryland Parkway bar is headed to trial.
Alleged Texas Mexican Mafia members headed to trial next month on charges they beat a Las Vegas limo driver
Judge tosses gang-related charges and lowers bail; suspects now free
Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014
Two purported members of the Texas Mexican Mafia originally accused of beating a Las Vegas limo driver are free while awaiting trial next month, but they no longer face charges the alleged crimes were gang-related.
Suspect pleads guilty to attacking jailer with baseball bat
Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014
The 25-year-old Las Vegas man accused of walking into the security screening area of the county jail last fall and bashing a corrections officer with a baseball bat pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony charge of battery with use of a deadly weapon. On Sept. 11, 2013, Michael Law walked into the Clark County Detention Center with a baseball bat and started swinging, injuring the first officer he encountered, Metro Police reported.
Former kindergarten teacher ordered to stand trial on porn, kidnapping charges
Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014
A former kindergarten teacher in the Clark County School District has been ordered to stand trial on charges related to a romantic relationship with a 16-year-old runaway. At the conclusion of a preliminary hearing this morning, Melvyn Perry Sprowson Jr., 45, was bound over for trial in Clark County District Court on charges of first-degree kidnapping and possession of child pornography.
Trial delayed for men suspected of posing as Mormon missionaries and robbing home
Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014
Attorneys for the men accused of posing as Mormon missionaries and committing a strong-armed robbery last summer in Las Vegas will have more time to build their case
Transportation department details road closures for New Year’s Eve
Monday, Dec. 30, 2013
More than 300,000 people are expected to ring in the New Year in Las Vegas. Because many of them will be flocking to the glittery Las Vegas Strip, the Nevada Department of Transportation is restricting vehicle access to Las Vegas Boulevard from Sahara to Tropicana avenues.
Recycling programs helping return Christmas trees to the ground -- as mulch for parks and gardens
Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013
Don’t want to lug the tree to a drop-off site? For $30 1-800-GOT-JUNK will pick up the tree and vacuum up lingering pine needles for $30.
Christmas cheer for children is a day on the job for nonprofit group of emergency workers
Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013
The firefighters pulled up to the house with hopes that this bright, brisk Christmas morning would help ease the memory of the black, smoky night they couldn’t save the mother of 11-year-old Ashley, 10-year-old Lupita and 8-year-old Isaac. Clark County Firefighter Faruk Williams still sees 28-year-old Carmen Soloman’s face from time to time. He recognizes the young mother’s features when he meets her children for the first time on Christmas morning.
Pedestrian dead after being hit by minivan on Christmas Eve
Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013
A pedestrian jaywalking on Maryland Parkway died on Christmas Eve after being hit by a man suspected of driving drunk.

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