Wednesday, June 29, 2011 | 9:47 a.m.
Victor Quijano, accused of using a stiletto knife to fatally stab one man and injure another early Saturday on a pedestrian walkway above the Las Vegas Strip, claims he was acting in self defense.
That's what a public defender said outside a courtroom following Quijano's short, but emotionally charged arraignment Wednesday morning in Las Vegas Justice Court.
Several friends and family members of the victim, Andres Armando Elena, 21, including a man who had "RIP Andy M" shaved onto the back of his head, watched the court proceeding this morning.
One woman began weeping loudly at the mention of Elena's name and another got up and left, shaking her head, as Justice of the Peace Ann Zimmerman read the charges against Quijano, 25.
Those charges are murder with the use of a deadly weapon and attempted murder with the use of a deadly weapon in connection with Elena's death.
Quijano is also charged with a third felony count, battery with the use of a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm, for allegedly stabbing a second man, Steven Velasquez, 22.
The judge set Quijano's next court appearance for 8 a.m. Friday, when an attorney will be named to represent him.
Deputy Public Defender Timothy O'Brien told the judge that the public defender's office had represented Elena eight times.
O'Brien said he would let the judge know by Friday whether there were any conflicts of interest in the public defender's office concerning the case and whether Quijano would decide to go with an outside attorney.
According to a police report, the incident allegedly began when Quijano and his friends had a run-in with another group of people at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.
A man, later identified as Velasquez, allegedly said something about a female in Quijano's group, prompting a fight in the mall area, according to the arrest report. Security diffused the fight by ordering Velasquez's group to leave.
Later that morning, however, Quijano and his friends encountered Velasquez's group on the walkway between MGM Grand and New York-New York, the report alleges.
Another fight ensued. Quijano told detectives he pulled out his black stiletto knife, which has a four- to five-inch blade, after Velasquez allegedly hit his friend with a glass bottle, according to the arrest report. The friend and Quijano both fell to the ground, the report said.
"As Quiano got to his feet he pulled the knife out of his pocket. Quijano claims Velasquez still had part of the broken bottle in his hand, swinging it back and forth like a weapon," the report said.
When Velasquez was focused more on Quijano's male friend and on his female friend, "Quijano said he stabbed Velasquez in the side. Quijano said he stabbed Velasquez in self defense," the report said.
The fight continued.
"Quijano said he thinks he also stabbed another guy that was in front of him," the report said. "Quijano did not see a weapon on the second subject he stabbed who detectives believe was Andres Elena. Elena was stabbed once in the left chest. Quijano said he stabbed Elena to get him back."
Detectives found a black stiletto knife in the bushes near New York-New York, about 20 to 30 yards from where police apprehended Quijano and his friend, Angel Magana.
Witnesses identified Quijano as the suspect seen with the knife during the fight, who was wearing an Oakland Raiders football jersey. Police said Quijano was carrying an Oakland Raiders jersey when stopped by officers.
Elena and Velasquez were transported to University Medical Center's trauma unit, where Elena died. Velasquez's injuries were not considered life-threatening, police said.
— Sun reporter Jackie Valley contributed to this report.
CORRECTION: This story originally reported that Deputy Public Defender Timothy O'Brien said his office had represented Quijano eight times, but the story has been corrected to say Elena was represented eight times. | (June 29, 2011)