Nevadans: A Bunch of Sick Freaks
I'm stunned that virtually every single day, Las Vegas' largest newspaper has at least one story about either (a) a brutal murder, (b) an arrest for a brutal murder, or (c) the conviction of a brutal murderer.
Just as an example, when a jury found James "Evil" Harrison (no, I didn't make that up) guilty of first degree murder, he smiled. And no, not just a little smirk:
I've got a feeling that picture's going to come back to haunt his poor attorney, who has to persuade the jury that his client is remorseful:
"'Our client knows he was involved and he knows he was wrong ... he has a conscience, that's why he told so many people (about the crime),' said Bret Whipple, Harrison's defense attorney."
Anyway, that was all just an introduction to two new Nevada Supreme Court decisions that came down on Thursday.
In Pascua v. State, three people decided to rob Doyle Upson of a $44,000.00 sports book ticket. They went to his apartment and roughed him up a bit, but he denied he had the ticket. So one of them smacked him in the head with a hammer. He collapsed into a chair, where they continued roughing him up, demanding money and the combo to his safe. They hit him in the head with the hammer two more times. Then they tried to inject him with valium. Then they dragged him into the bedroom, smacked him in the head a few more times, and injected his nostrils and mouth full of caulking. It took him seven or eight hours to die (the Review-Journal has slightly different details, and said he only died after one of them stomped on his throat at the end of the eight hours).
Pascua was convicted of murder one, robbery and kidnapping. On appeal, she argued she couldn't be convicted of kidnapping when it was part of the same series of events. The Supremes disagreed, so all three convictions stand.
In Archanian v. State, Avetis Archanian went to work one morning at a jewelry store owned by Elisa Del Prado and Juana Quiroga. Security camera footage shows he went into the back room, where he would repair jewelry.
"Minutes later, Del Prado entered the workroom, apparently at Archanian's behest. Soon thereafter, 86-year-old Juana Quiroga, Del Prado's mother, apparently heard a commotion in the workroom and went to investigate. Moments later, Quiroga attempted to escape but was dragged back into the room. Her legs kicked about, and then all movement ceased. Archanian exited the room, retrieved numerous pieces of jewelry from various trays and cases, and left the store."
When the paramedics entered the store, they picked up Del Prado to move her body onto a gurney, a 12-inch metal rod fell out of the back of her head. She actually survived for about six months, opening her eyes once, but never regaining consciousness. The coroner noted she was missing portions of her skull and brain. Quiroga died at the scene of massive trauma injuries to the head, neck and shoulders.
Archanian's defense? "I didn't do it!" Even though he was caught on film, had blood on his clothes and the handle on his car door, with jewelry in his pockets. He was found guilty, and the Supreme Court affirmed his death sentence.