A 17-year-old and his mother pleaded not guilty Thursday to criminal charges in the fatal shooting of former Chaparral High School football player Richard Nelson.
Richard Newsome faces one count of murder with a deadly weapon and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. His mother, Tianna Douglas, also known as Tianna Thomas, faces one count of accessory to murder with a deadly weapon and one count of battery with substantial bodily harm.
Richard Newsome and mother plead not guilty in slaying of Chaparral High football player Richard Nelson.— David Ferrara (@randompoker) February 16, 2017
Nelson, 18, was fatally shot last month after intervening in a fight between his sister and several other people outside a home on the 4800 block of Sacks Drive, near Nellis Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue.
Prosecutors said that before Nelson was killed, witnesses saw Newsome point a handgun at another person while his 37-year-old mother stood by his side.
Defense attorney John Momot, who represents the mother and son, said witnesses gave conflicting statements about whether Douglas saw the gun at that point.
Sometime before the fight that resulted in Nelson’s death, an initial argument broke out between Nelson’s sister and her girlfriend while they talked on the phone, according to a police report. Nelson was not involved in the argument.
On Thursday, prosecutor Tierra Jones asked a judge to consider Douglas’ actions after the shooting.
Police said Nelson — a Missouri State University freshman and football player home on winter break — ran outside to help his older sister, Oniesha Coleman, before Newsome pulled out a gun and shot Nelson several times. Newsome, his mother and brothers then climbed into a car and drove away.
“She knew her son had shot a man,” Jones said. “She drove him away from the scene, and at no point did she attempt to contact law enforcement.”
District Judge Valerie Adair reduced Douglas’ bail from $50,000 to $25,000, with a condition of house arrest should she post bail. The judge also ordered Douglas to stay away from any of Nelson’s relatives.
Newsome is being held without bail.
“There are no winners in this case, because it’s a tragedy,” Momot said after Thursday’s hearing. “We’re just trying to minimize the damage as much as we can.”