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December 18, 2014

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Bail revoked for woman charged in Bellagio attack and girl’s death

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Leila Navidi

Brenda Stokes appears in Las Vegas Justice Court for a hearing at the Regional Justice Center on Friday, December 28, 2012.

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 | 11:08 a.m.

Jade Morris

Jade Morris

Brenda Stokes Hearing

Claudette Flanagan-Jones, from left, Jade Morris' grandmother, Tejuana Reeves-Morris, Jade's mother, and Andres Mack, Jade's grandfather, watch as Brenda Stokes appears in Las Vegas Justice Court for a hearing Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, at the Regional Justice Center. Launch slideshow »

A judge revoked bail for Brenda Stokes, the woman accused of attacking a Bellagio co-worker and killing 10-year-old Jade Morris, during a court hearing Wednesday morning.

Stokes, 50, has been charged with first-degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon, murder with use of a deadly weapon, battery with use of a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm, burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon, attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon and mayhem with use of a deadly weapon, according to an amended criminal complaint.

Stokes was arrested the night of Dec. 21 after she slashed Joyce Rhone, a fellow blackjack dealer, with razor blades at the Bellagio, according to a Metro Police report. Rhone survived the attack.

Hours earlier, Stokes allegedly picked up Morris, the daughter of a man she had dated, to go shopping. The girl never returned home, triggering a search by authorities, family, friends and volunteers.

On Thursday, six days after Morris disappeared, her body was found in an area under development in North Las Vegas. The Clark County Coroner's Office determined the girl died of multiple stab and incised wounds.

Robert Daskas, chief deputy district attorney, said a DNA analysis confirmed Morris' blood was found on the steering wheel and door handle of the car Stokes was driving Dec. 21. Blood found on Stokes' clothing inside her apartment also matched Morris, Daskas said.

"That's just sort of the highlights of what we know at this point," Daskas said, while arguing for no bail.

Tony Liker, Stokes' hired defense attorney, opposed the prosecution's request, noting the defendant intended to plead not guilty to all charges.

Liker, who called Stokes a "wonderful woman," said he met Stokes several years ago when representing her daughter in an accident case. Stokes raised three children — a daughter who graduated from UNLV and works in California and two sons who attend colleges in Texas and Ohio — as a single mother, Liker said.

"I don't think it meets the profile of someone who would kill a 10-year-old girl," Liker said. "She has no criminal history whatsoever."

Liker said Morris' parents, Philip Morris and Tejuana Reeves, had been considered suspects in the young girl's death but now were "pointing the finger at my client."

Justice of the Peace Deborah Lippis, however, accepted the prosecution's recommendation, revoking Stokes' bail. Her bail had been $600,000.

"As it stands now, the likelihood of guilt seems great," Lippis said. "That doesn't mean she is guilty."

Citing security concerns, Lippis also denied the defense's request to allow Stokes to wear a wig and street clothes to her hearings. Stokes, shackled and surrounded by court marshals, stood silent throughout the hearing.

Lippis scheduled Stokes' preliminary hearing for March 28.

Outside the courtroom, Reeves hugged her mother and brushed aside the defense's assertion she and Philip Morris could be involved in their daughter's death.

"I'm not worried about that," Reeves said. "I'm not worried about that at all."

Family members said Morris' funeral would be Jan. 9 at Bread of Life Ministries, near Simmons Street and Lake Mead Boulevard in Las Vegas.

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