Las Vegas Sun

September 26, 2017

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Court overturns murder convictions in slaying of prostitutes

CARSON CITY — In a 4-3 decision, the Nevada Supreme Court today overturned the murder convictions and death sentence of a Las Vegas man in the slaying of two prostitutes in May 2006.

The majority said the prosecution showed “purposeful discrimination” in using a peremptory challenge to exclude a 28-year-old black woman from the jury that convicted Jason McCarty of murder, kidnapping and battery.

McCarty, now 44, will return to Las Vegas for further court proceedings.

McCarty was accused of stabbing and using a golf club to beat and kill Victoria Magee, 26 and Charlotte Canbabo, 34, whose naked bodies were found in the desert along I-95 between Henderson and Boulder City.

The majority, in an opinion authored by Justice Michael Cherry, said the prosecution initially maintained it excluded the juror because she had a work card for employment at a strip club, though she said she was a college student at the time.

The prosecution also noted that the juror’s brother had been convicted of a crime. But a white juror whose father had a criminal record was not excluded, the opinion said.

Cherry said the trial judge did not conduct adequate questioning to determine the reason the juror was excluded.

In the dissenting opinion, Justice Kristina Pickering said the trial judge handled the decision to exclude woman with care and after extensive research, finding “no purposeful discrimination by the states attorneys.”

Pickering said there was no basis for reversing the death sentence.

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