Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 | 9:37 a.m.
Man run over by car in driveway
More than a dozen family members and friends filled a Las Vegas courtroom Tuesday in support of 33-year-old Sounilak Ouchlaeun, accused of fatally striking her boyfriend with a car after an argument.
She is charged with murder with a deadly weapon.
Public Defender Christy Craig referenced Ouchlaeun’s supporters when she asked Las Vegas Justice Court Judge Eric A. Goodman to release Ouchlaeun on her own recognizance. Ouchlaeun, a card dealer at the Rio, has no prior criminal history, Craig said.
Ouchlaeun, who required a translator speaking Thai and Laotian, has legally resided in the United States since 2004, Craig said.
“There is a significant chance this was simply a tragic accident,” Craig said.
Goodman, citing concerns of Ouchlaeun being a flight risk, set bail at $100,000, the amount sought by prosecutors.
“This is a murder case at this point,” Deputy District Attorney Robert Stephens said. “Clearly, I believe some bail would be necessary.”
The incident, which killed 41-year-old Conrado Martinez Mendoza, happened the night of Nov. 19 at the couple’s Spring Valley home. A Metro Police report indicates the couple had been drinking before an argument ensued about her interaction with co-workers at the Rio, where both worked.
As the fight escalated, Ouchlaeun and Mendoza struck each other, a friend who was inside the home told detectives, according to the report.
That’s when Ouchlaeun attempted to leave.
As Ouchlaeun back her car out of the garage, she struck Mendoza, who had been standing behind the car, according to the arrest report. Officers arrived to find Mendoza dead under the 2010 Toyota Venza.
Speaking outside the courtroom after the hearing, Craig said she expects blood tests will show all three — Ouchlaeun, Mendoza and his friend — had a high level of alcohol in their systems. Ouchlaeun and Mendoza had moved in together Nov. 1 at the home in the 4300 block of Mammoth Creek Drive, Craig said.
“It’s very difficult,” Craig said, referencing Ouchlaeun’s emotions. “She’s never been in trouble before. She’s never even had a speeding ticket. She’s at a real loss.”
Craig said Ouchlaeun intends to plead not guilty.
Louis Rosenberg, a friend of the Ouchlaeun family, called the incident a “tragic accident.”
“She has not a malice bone in her body,” Rosenberg said. “She is the nicest person in the world, and she is in total devastation about this.”
Ouchlaeun, who has been in custody at the Clark County Detention Center, did not speak and kept her head bowed during most of the hearing. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 14.