Prosecutors to seek death penalty in two murder cases


Clark County prosecutors will seek the death penalty for three defendants in two separate cases.

The district attorney's death penalty committee on Wednesday approved seeking capital punishment for Norman Belcher, accused of slaying a 15-year-old girl in a drug-related robbery, and two men accused of killing a brothel madam over a $9,000 debt.

Belcher, 35, is charged with the Dec. 6 shooting death of 15-year-old Alexus Postorino, a sophomore at Southwest Career and Technical Academy.

Authorities say Belcher believed the teenager's father, William, owed him a drug-related debt.

Belcher is accused of breaking into the Postorinos' home at 3 a.m. intending to rob the residence and leave no witnesses.

William Postorino, a single father who has a past conviction for drug trafficking, was at a casino at the time.

Another man at the home also was shot but survived.

Months earlier, Belcher was released from prison, where he was sent after he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in a 2003 homicide. He is held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center and is awaiting arraignment in District Court.

In an unrelated case, Min Soon Chang, 30, and Keon Kyun Park, 19, were indicted in January on one count each of murder with use of a deadly weapon, armed robbery, first-degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon and two counts of conspiracy in the death of Young Park, 39.

Keon Park is not related to the victim.

The woman's body was discovered by hikers Dec. 23 near Kingman Wash, about a mile from the O'Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge.

Authorities said the two men strangled and beat Young Park with a wrench and then burned her body on the Arizona side of the Hoover Dam.

Authorities said the men tried burning the body first with lighter fluid and, when that didn't work, went back the next day and burned it using gasoline.

Authorities said Young Park ran an escort business and brothel out of a home near Rainbow Boulevard and Desert Inn Road. She owed Chang about $6,000 and Keon Park about $3,000. Chang was her driver. Keon Park booked appointments.

Chang and Keon Park have confessed to their roles in the slaying, authorities said. They have pleaded not guilty and are being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center.

Meanwhile, prosecutors will not seek capital punishment against a man accused of beating to death his 62-year-old landlord in 2009.

Authorities say Jonathan Van Hook, 36, pummeled Morteza Mostafavi-Kashani with his fists at a residence in the 4700 block of East Boston Avenue, near Nellis Boulevard and Sahara Avenue. Van Hook was charged with one count of murder of a victim older than 60.

Since his arrest, the 6-foot-2-inch, 244-pound Van Hook has moved back and forth between the Clark County Detention Center and Lake's Crossing, Nevada's mental health institution. He is described as bipolar and must be forcibly medicated to quell violent behavior.

Van Hook is being held at the county jail on no bail. He has pleaded not guilty.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

 

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