A plea deal could fall apart for a Colombian man and his wife whose unlicensed cosmetic surgery was blamed in the death of a Las Vegas woman.
Prosecutors offered to drop a second-degree murder charge against Ruben Dario Matallana-Galvas, 55, and Carmen Olfidia Torres-Sanchez, 47, if both pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, practicing medicine without a license and conspiracy.
On Thursday, Matallana-Galvas, who has identified himself as a homeopathic doctor, did plead guilty to the charges; but his wife, Torres-Sanchez, a lawyer with the Colombian attorney general's office, would not say she was an active participant in the surgery.
Authorities allege Matallana-Galvas and his wife flew into Las Vegas to operate an illegal medical practice in April and performed plastic surgery on Elena Caro, 42, that led to her death.
Caro died April 9, shortly after Matallana-Galvas injected her with "a gel-type substance" in an illegal buttocks enhancement procedure in the backroom of a tile store.
Prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo said the deal would be off unless Torres-Sanchez confessed her role in the surgery, which included Torres-Sanchez marking Caro's body for the injections, according to testimony given to the grand jury that indicted the couple.
District Judge Abbi Silver ordered Torres-Sanchez and her attorneys to discuss the agreement again over the next two weeks. Torres-Sanchez is set to appear again before Silver on Aug. 4.
According to the plea agreement, Matallana-Galvas and his wife could be sentenced to probation or one to nine years in prison.
But if Torres-Sanchez does not admit her role, both she and her husband would face a murder charge at a February 2012 trial. If convicted, they would face 10 years to life in prison.
Authorities have said Matallana-Galvas did not have a license to perform plastic surgery in Colombia and that his wife is being terminated from her job as a federal prosecutor in that country.
Family members said Caro learned of the service from advertising at a local beauty salon.
Las Vegas police arrested the couple April 10 at McCarran International Airport as they tried to change previously purchased tickets to return to Colombia.
Both are being held on $500,000 bail at the Clark County Detention Center.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039.