Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011 | 4:54 p.m.
Beau Maestas, who pleaded guilty to the fatal stabbing of a 3-year-old girl and permanently injuring her 10-year-old sister in a brutal 2003 attack in Mesquite, is pleading to be spared the death penalty.
Maestas, through his lawyer, said the death penalty is not appropriate given the facts of this case. A jury deadlocked on the penalty in the first sentencing hearing but a second jury agreed on the death penalty on the counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
His case and two other capital punishment appeals from Clark County are scheduled for oral arguments before the Nevada Supreme Court Monday.
Maestas and his friends were partying in Mesquite in January 2003 when they ran out of methamphetamine. They sought out known drug dealers Tammy Bergeron and Robert Schmidt. A deal was arranged in which Maestas paid $125 for 1.75 grams of meth. Bergeron delivered a package at the Casablanca Casino. But Maestas and his friends discovered the substance was apparently salt.
Angered, Maestas and his sister Monique drove to the trailer of Bergeron, who was not home. But her two daughters — Kristyann, 3, and Brittany, 10 -- were in the trailer alone.
Maestas and his sister gained entrance by telling Brittany that her mother was badly hurt.
Brittany was punched and stabbed more than 20 times and her spinal cord was severed, rendering her a paraplegic.
Kristyanna was stabbed multiple times. Court documents say Maestas stuck a knife into Kristyanna's head, penetrating halfway into her brain. Her jugular vein was cut, her tongue severed and her thighs and legs also suffered wounds.
Kristyanna died after being admitted to University Medical Center.
Defense lawyers say there was misconduct by a juror and the District Attorney's office during the penalty hearing. They say the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment, which is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.
The court will also hear Monday:
• The appeal of Michael D. Rippo, convicted of the murder of two women in their apartment in Las Vegas in June 1992. Denise Lizzzi and Lauri Jacobson were found strangled to death. This is Rippo's third appeal to the court. His co-defendant, Diana Hunt, was allowed to plead guilty to robbery and the murder charges were dropped against her. She told authorities about the incident. Rippo said he was never able to confront and cross-examine Hunt with evidence of her mental illness and of use of psychotropic drugs.
• The sixth appeal of Michael Hogan, sentenced to death for the fatal shooting of his girlfriend Heidi Hinkley and the attempted murder of her daughter Claudia Brown in Las Vegas in 1984.