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December 21, 2014

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The Sun’s April nine: Highlighting last month’s top crimes in Las Vegas

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The Sun’s April nine.

Crime in the valley last month took a turn for the bizarre, even by Las Vegas standards.

Three unrelated fatal stabbings occurred in less than 24 hours mid-month, someone chucked a soccer cleat at Hillary Clinton, and the arrest report for a reality TV star accused of kidnapping a prostitute was made public.

Here’s a look at some of the crimes that caught the public’s attention in April:

    • Asa Funderburk

      It started innocuously enough: A stranger asking to borrow a cellphone and a man saying no.

      Asa Funderburk

      Asa Funderburk

      The refusal, backdropped by the breakfast rush at a McDonald’s, would cost Brandon Pickford his life on April 17, according to the Metro Police arrest report.

      The report details the following:

      An argument ensued in the parking lot of the fast-food joint on the corner of Sahara Avenue and Paseo Del Prado after Pickford refused to let Asa Funderburk, 31, use his phone.

      Funderburk went on to stab Pickford in the neck with a 6-inch pointed stick.

      The blow came after Pickford shoved Funderburk into traffic and raised his fist, Funderburk told police.

      Funderburk had found the stick earlier that day in the street.

      Pickford died after he was taken to University Medical Center.

      It was one of three unrelated stabbings that happened in less than 24 hours.

      Court records show Funderburk is charged with one count of open murder with a deadly weapon. He is due in Las Vegas Township Justice Court on July 8 for a preliminary hearing.

      Funderburk remains in Clark County Detention Center without bail, according to jail records.

    • Cody James Bradbury

      It didn’t take police long to track down their suspect — Cody James Bradbury’s apparent getaway vehicle after he fatally stabbed a man on April 15 was a public bus, according to the Metro Police arrest report. Officers apprehended Bradbury on the bus about a mile from the crime scene, a Savers at 3121 N. Rancho Drive.

      Cody James Bradbury

      Cody James Bradbury

      The arrest report, which outlines the following details, suggests a love triangle factored into the deadly argument:

      Bradbury told police he and his ex-girlfriend, Melodye Powell, were at Bradbury’s apartment earlier that afternoon and had got into a spat. Powell left with Bruce Reid, who would wind up dead before nightfall.

      Bradbury was shopping on Rancho Drive when he noticed Reid’s motorcycle in the parking lot outside the Savers. Upset Powell had left the apartment earlier with Reid, Bradbury knocked over Reid’s motorcycle.

      A fight ensued between Reid and Bradbury.

      Bradbury told police he stabbed Reid because Reid was on top of him during the fight.

      After the altercation Bradbury ran to a nearby apartment complex, removed a bloody white T-shirt, threw the knife into the desert and then tried to board the bus before being arrested, Bradbury told police.

      Bradbury is charged with one count of open murder. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 23 in North Las Vegas Justice Court.

      He remains in Clark County Detention Center, jail records show.

    • Alison Michelle Ernst

      Hillary Clinton, addressing the annual Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries convention on April 10 at Mandalay Bay, knew she would be following in the footsteps of George W. Bush, who spoke at the convention two years earlier.

      Alison Michelle Ernst

      Alison Michelle Ernst

      But Clinton was surprised to join the former president as the target of a shoe attack.

      Clinton was a few minutes into her keynote address when Alison Michelle Ernst approached the stage and threw a Puma soccer cleat at the former secretary of state, said Brian Spellacy, special agent in charge of the Las Vegas office of the Secret Service.

      The woman, disguised in a platinum blond wig, didn’t have credentials for the event and slipped past security, a spokesman for the recycling institute said.

      Ernst, 36, of Phoenix, is charged with two misdemeanor federal counts accusing her of trespassing and violence against a person.

      A bench trial is scheduled for June 25 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen.

    • Brandon McIver

      At first the scene appeared to be a mundane part of city life: Someone walking up to vehicles asking for cash.

      Brandon McIver

      Brandon McIver

      But the man wasn’t after money; he was out for blood and reportedly spun out on the drug “molly,” or ecstasy, a Metro Police report indicates.

      Brandon McIver, 21, is accused of approaching two drivers and stabbing them April 9. One of the victims died and the other received eight stitches for cuts on the hand he used to shield himself, police said.

      The police report outlines the following:

      Witnesses recalled seeing a man stab the deceased and wander to nearby businesses, screaming obscenities along the way.

      McIver ended up in a Food 4 Less at 4965 E. Sahara Ave. An employee was alerted to McIver’s presence after a call over the PA system said someone was causing a ruckus and trying to devour raw meat. The employee was able to snag the knife of the suspect before the man headed to a nearby Starbucks, where he was apprehended.

      Court records show McIver is charged with first-degree murder, burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon and battery with a deadly weapon. McIver is due Friday in Las Vegas Township Justice Court for a status check on the case.

      He remains in Clark County Detention Center without bail, jail records show.

    • Karl Menz and Virginia Lynch

      Authorities hit the jackpot after a monthlong search for an autistic 3-year-old Florida boy ended in the Las Vegas Valley.

      Karl Menz, 50, left, and Virginia Lynch, 49.

      Karl Menz, 50, left, and Virginia Lynch, 49.

      Authorities in Crestview, Fla., said Emmanuel Menz was recovered unharmed April 3 in Henderson. The boy’s parents, 49-year-old Virginia Lynch and 50-year-old Karl Menz, were apprehended.

      The couple, who late last year had lost custody of the child, are accused of taking the boy March 6 during a supervised visit at a Burger King restaurant in Crestview. An official with the Florida Department of Children and Families supervising the visit had left momentarily to use the restaurant’s bathroom, according to published reports. When the supervisor returned, the boy and his parents were gone.

      Based on information provided by the FBI, officers responded to an area near Boulder Highway and Lake Mead Parkway and found suspects in a white U-Haul van with its distinctive markings removed, according to Henderson Police.

      Both suspects surrendered without incident and were detained. They have waived extradition and will face charges in Florida.

    • Darius Davon Sorrells

      A family friend unraveled the mystery of two missing women when he unwittingly walked through the home where their decomposing bodies lay.

      Darius Davon Sorrells

      Darius Davon Sorrells

      North Las Vegas Police believe Darius Sorrells, 30, killed his mother and sister in late March before taking a chain saw to one of the bodies and cutting off the legs in a bathtub, according to an incident report.

      A police report outlines the following details:

      Relatives had begged a family friend to check the house for clues about the whereabouts of Janice Burden and Natasha Sorrells.

      The friend broke into the home March 30 and called police when he found it in extreme disarray. He thought a sewer line had burst because a pungent odor filled the house and its floors were covered with a dark fluid.

      The fluid turned out to be blood.

      By the time police made the grisly discovery, Darius Sorrells – the key suspect in the slayings – was already behind bars. He had been arrested a day earlier on unrelated charges after leading officers on a brief chase.

      Relatives have suggested to police that Darius Sorrells, Burden's son and Natasha Sorrells' brother, was mentally unstable. He is due in court for a competency hearing Friday and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Clark County District Court.

      He remains in Clark County Detention without bail, jail records show.

    • Timothy Zickuhr

      A reality TV personality who braved treacherous terrain on the History Channel's “Ice Road Truckers: Deadliest Roads” is now navigating a twisting road of a different sort: criminal court.

      Timothy Zickuhr

      Timothy Zickuhr

      Timothy Zickuhr is charged with first-degree kidnapping, extortion and coercion with the use of force related to the Dec. 19 incident, according to court records.

      A Metro Police arrest report released April 21 outlines the following:

      Zickuhr lured a prostitute known as “Snow White” to his apartment, 2565 Lynwood St., and held her there against her will because Zickuhr believed the woman owed him $1,000.

      An undercover officer learned of the situation when Zickuhr used the victim's phone and unwittingly demanded money from the officer. Zickuhr told the officer he would kill the woman if the demands weren’t met.

      Zickuhr made two other phone calls to the officer — demanding money and then ordering him to meet behind the Eureka Casino, near Sahara Avenue and Sherwood Street.

      Meanwhile, Zickuhr's neighbors heard a woman screaming for help and called the police. Suspecting the police closing in, Zickuhr forced the victim to jump out a second-floor window onto a carport. From there, the pair walked to the Eureka, where the undercover officer and his partner were waiting to make the arrest.

      Police noted the woman had injuries on her face and arms, as well as cuts on her wrists. The woman told officers that Zickuhr tied her up with backpack straps, shoved her in a closet and poured cold water over her.

      After Zickuhr was taken into custody, he “immediately admitted that he made a mistake” while trying to obtain the money he believed the woman took from him, the report states.

      Zickuhr went on to say he had planned to place an ad on Craigslist to prostitute the woman for his financial benefit.

      Court records indicate Zickuhr posted bail in early January.

      He appeared in the 2010 season of “Ice Road Truckers: Deadliest Roads.” In a video biography posted on the History Channel's website, Zickuhr describes himself:

      “I'm kind of an outlaw. I make up my own rules as I go. I don't like to be told what to do.”

      Court records show a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in Las Vegas Township Justice Court.

    • John Russell

      A scream echoed throughout the apartment complex just after midnight April 16.

      John Russell

      John Russell

      A man sitting on his apartment steps went to check out the witching-hour cry for help, according to the Metro Police report.

      Police would later find the man lying wounded on the pavement next to Jeffree Bender, who died at University Medical Center from multiple stab wounds, the report said.

      John Russell, 50, is charged with one count of open murder and attempted murder in connection with the double stabbing, according to court records.

      The surviving victim told police he saw Russell and four other men beating up Bender in the parking lot at Exeter Drive and Isaac Avenue, near Lake Mead Boulevard.

      Russell is due June 4 in Las Vegas Township Justice Court for a preliminary hearing.

      He remains in Clark County Detention Center without bail.

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