Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2017

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Court briefs for July 18, 2002

Trial set for Vigoa relatives

December trial dates were set Wednesday for Luis Suarez and Pedro Duarte, the brothers-in-law of casino robber Jose Vigoa.

In a plea agreement that cannot be used in court, Vigoa implicated Suarez as having taken part in armed robberies of Mandalay Bay, Bellagio and a Henderson Ross Dress for Less that left two armored truck drivers dead. He implicated Duarte in robberies of the MGM Grand and the Desert Inn. A fourth implicated suspect, Oscar Cisneros, committed suicide while in the Clark County Detention Center for the robberies.

Both men face attempted murder charges with a deadly weapon for their part in the casino heists, in which Vigoa pleaded guilty June 24 to avoid the death penalty for the deaths of armored guards Richard Sosa and Gary Prestidge Jr.

Duarte goes to trial Dec. 2 and Suarez's trial is scheduled for Dec. 16.

Judge denies request for hearing

District Court Judge Kathy Hardcastle denied a convicted murderer's request for a new penalty hearing and affirmed the Clark County jury's sentence of 40 years to life.

Guatemala native Elder Zacarias-Lopez, 25, shot countryman Moris Almendarez-Morataya, 27, in the head four times during a gathering at Lopez's house July 8, 2001, jurors found.

Court reinstates defamation suit

CARSON CITY -- The Nevada Supreme Court Wednesday reinstated a defamation suit against Las Vegas attorney Richard Oshins for his alleged derogatory remarks about an insurance salesman.

The court said Oshins was not entitled to "absolute privilege" for statements made to a third party about insurance agent Donald M. Fink involving a trust case. The court overturned the pre-trial summary judgment granted Oshins by District Judge Michael Douglas and sent the case back to district court for trial.

Trial set for man accused in shooting

A man accused of shooting another man to death at the Moulin Rouge on Bonanza Road will go to trial Dec. 16.

Jermaine Smith, 22, was arrested in Louisiana for the Jan. 8 slaying of 24-year-old Derrick E. Caver.

Vegas man asks to withdraw plea

An additional defense attorney has been appointed to a 23-year-old Las Vegas man who wishes to withdraw his plea of guilty in a fatal robbery.

Frederick Benson faces a no-parole life sentence per his plea agreement to the first-degree murder of Henry Zegler, 58.

Authorities allege Benson, Lakeisha Smith, 24, and Taras Bartell Stewart, 18, shot Zegler in a dispute over a Ford Mustang and $800 in February 2000.

Smith pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and is serving a 20-year to life sentence, and Stewart pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with parole possible after 10 years.

Defense attorney Betsy Allen said that she was only aiding Benson in withdrawing his guilty plea and that the public defender's office is still handing the rest of the case.

Arguments for the motion will be heard Aug. 26 by District Court Judge Kathy Hardcastle.