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Foreign student arrested in death of man at South Point

Updated Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 | 3:29 p.m.

Matejs Balodis

Matejs Balodis

Map of South Point Hotel-Casino-Spa

South Point Hotel-Casino-Spa

9777 S. Las Vegas Boulevard , Las Vegas

An exchange student accused of fatally beating a man Monday evening inside an off-Strip casino told police he was afraid for his safety, according to a police report released this afternoon.

Matejs Balodis, 22, told Metro Police detectives he had just flown into Las Vegas from Texas when he met the alleged victim at McCarran International Airport during an extended layover. Balodis told police he quickly befriended Sherman Dale Lamb, who helped him get a room at the South Point after his flight to New York was cancelled.

Lamb, 55, “originally appeared nice,” but later “it became apparent Lamb wanted to get Balodis’ money and credit card (personal identification number),” the police report says.

Balodis told police he tried to get his information back from Lamb, but Lamb became upset. Balodis said he grew scared, and the men began to fight in their hotel room. He hit Lamb several times on the face and head before calling police and hotel security guards to report the incident about 6:20 p.m.

Lamb died about an hour later at a nearby hospital, and detectives arrested Balodis on one count of murder.

Balodis, whose registered address is in Latvia, said he was an exchange student from Denmark traveling back to Europe for the holidays after completing his studies in Texas. A Facebook profile matching the suspect’s identity indicates that he last lived in San Antonio, where he was training at the Pinnacle Martial Arts Academy.

Balodis, who is in custody in the Clark County Detention Center without bond, is due in court at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

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