Las Vegas Sun

November 24, 2017

Currently: 62° — Complete forecast

Man accused of beating NFL’s Javon Walker found guilty


Sam Morris

Deshawn Thomas listens to opening statements during his trial on April 14. He was charged in connection with the beating and robbery of former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Javon Walker.

Updated Friday, April 23, 2010 | 4:38 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Javon Walker testifies April 14 in Clark County District Court at the trial of Deshawn Thomas, who is charged in connection with the beating and robbery of Walker.

The man accused of beating and robbing former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Javon Walker was found guilty Friday on multiple felony counts.

Jurors began deliberating Friday morning. After 4½ hours, they found Deshawn Thomas, 42, guilty on counts of first-degree kidnapping, robbery, battery, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and conspiracy to commit robbery.

The jury of six men and six women didn't find that the crimes committed caused Walker substantial bodily harm.

Thomas sat at the defendant’s table with his hands clasped and showed no emotion as the verdict was read.

Thomas could face life in prison. Prosecutors said they intend to argue for habitual criminal treatment because his record includes multiple felony convictions.

Prosecutors said Thomas targeted a visibly drunken Walker before beating him and robbing him of tens of thousands of dollars of cash and jewelry in a vacant condominium complex parking lot about a block away from the Las Vegas Strip.

Thomas’ attorneys argued that cell phone records put Thomas at a bar in the northwest valley at the time the attack would have happened and said the football player could have injured himself by falling down drunk. They said Walker blamed Thomas because he needed an excuse for allowing himself to become so intoxicated.

A sentencing date was set for June 23 in front of District Court Judge Doug Smith, who presided over the trial.

Thomas’ attorneys said they intend to file appeals and will move for a new trial.

“It was sort of a circus and I think that there’s going to be some issues later on,” said Betsy Allen, Thomas’ court-appointed attorney.

The motion for a new trial will be filed by next Friday, she said.

Allen and her co-counsel, Richard Ramos, criticized the use of a photograph by prosecutors in their closing arguments that they said showed their client – seen apparently throwing a punch at a casino gaming table – engaged in a prior bad act. After the photograph was shown to jurors on Thursday, Allen moved for a mistrial, saying the photo was inadmissible. Smith denied her motion.

Also on Thursday, Thomas was sentenced to two to five years in a separate larceny case in which he was found guilty of stealing a designer watch from a tourist. Prosecutors said the incident happened within weeks of the Walker assault.

Walker reported that a custom-made, jewel-encrusted watch was among the items stolen from him.

“We think the jury spent a lot of time thinking it through and came up with an appropriate verdict,” prosecutor Nell Keenan said after the hearing. “When we put everything together, in our opinion, there was no denying that we proved this beyond a reasonable doubt.”

She said she believed Walker would be pleased with the verdict.

Prosecutors said Thomas has another case pending in which he is accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old girl and bringing her to Las Vegas, where he allegedly pimped her out and prostituted her. In that case, which is set for trial in May, he’s facing charges of pimping, pandering, statutory sexual seduction and child abuse, Keenan said.

She said he was out on bail on that case when he robbed Walker.

A co-defendant in the Walker case, Arfat Fadel, pleaded guilty to reduced charges on the eve of trial and was a key witness in the case against Thomas. He’s facing a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

Fadel said he was driving his girlfriend’s black Range Rover and had come to the Hard Rock Hotel at the urging of Thomas, who had his eye on a drunken man wearing expensive jewelry. He said he didn’t know Walker was a famous football player at the time.

Fadel and Thomas followed Walker’s party from the Hard Rock back to the Bellagio, where he was staying with friends, and began befriending him in the hotel’s valet area, Fadel testified. The men first went into the casino, where Fadel had intended to go to the tables with Walker and gamble with his money. Plans changed and the trio left to go to Drai’s, an afterhours nightclub at nearby Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall.

Casino surveillance footage corroborates much of what Fadel told the jury.

Walker himself testified he was intoxicated after a night of partying at the Hard Rock Hotel, where he sprayed champagne at the crowd at the Body English nightclub and said he had fallen down drunk at a private party in a hotel suite. He said it was “bad judgment” that led him to get into the vehicle with two strangers.

Fadel testified that after the men got back into his vehicle, Thomas, who was sitting in the backseat, directed him to the vacant lot, where Thomas grabbed Walker from behind and demanded items, including a diamond and platinum necklace, a designer watch and a pair of 2-carat diamond stud earrings, as well as casino chips, cash and credit cards.

Fadel said that after Thomas took the items, he ordered Walker out of the car. Although Fadel said he couldn’t see what happened next, he said Thomas got back into the car and told Fadel to drive. He said Thomas told him he had hit Walker with a “two-piece,” meaning he had punched him twice.

Walker was found unconscious in the early morning hours of June 16, 2008. He spent four days in a Las Vegas hospital and had two broken bones in his face. It took him more than two months to fully recover.

Walker, 31, had signed a lucrative contract with the Raiders in the months before the robbery. He was released from the team in March and is currently a free agent.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy