The tan stuffed animal with brown ears dressed in a basketball uniform leaned against a pile of folders and documents on the prosecution's table.
Erica Evans told Clark County District Judge Linda Bell she brings "Brother Bear" to all family gatherings.
Inside Brother Bear are some of Dominique Evans' ashes. Two years ago the 19-year-old was gunned down, a victim of a street robbery by six thrill- seeking youths, authorities say.
On Friday, Erica Evans brought Brother Bear to court as she asked for justice for her murdered son.
"The pain that comes from losing your child is unbearable," Erica Evans said, as tears streamed down her face. "My son was my greatest success."
Dominique Evans was a big brother, a mentor, a teacher and a coach who worked at the Desert Breeze Community Center, said Evans' father, Jay Warren.
"He was what was right about being a teenager," Warren said. "He was my hero."
Antonio Tarrosa was "bustin' a mission" -- gang slang for street robberies of random victims -- with members of his crew called Valley Park Criminal Gangsters, when they happened upon Dominique Evans walking with his girlfriend in the southwest valley.
Evans cooperated with Tarrosa during the early morning robbery, handing over $17 and credit cards. Tarrosa shot him anyway because Evans' girlfriend ran away. Tarrosa later told detectives that he laughed after he shot Evans in the buttocks.
The robbery of Evans was the second attempted that night by the crew of six, some still in high school. Earlier Tarrosa had chased and shot at, but missed, a man who ran from him.
After shooting Evans, Tarrosa and the crew drove to a McDonald's to eat.
"Of course they're all hungry after doing the shootings and robberies," said prosecutor Roy Nelson, who sought lengthy prison sentences for all.
Tarrosa, 19, was convicted of first-degree murder and other charges after a December trial. Bell sentenced him to 34 years to life in prison.
Brian Gonzalez, 21, and the driver of the car, Matthew Laneave, 20, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, armed robbery and conspiracy. Gonzalez was sentenced to 15 to 45 years in prison. Laneave was sentenced to 13 to 45 years in prison.
Nicholas Medina, 19, and Desiree Palomino, 18, pleaded guilty to armed robbery and conspiracy charges. Medina and Palomino were sentenced to four to 20 years in prison.
Cheyenne Carpenter, 20, pleaded guilty to accessory to commit murder and conspiracy. She was sentenced to two to 11 years in prison. In what defense attorneys called a coincidence, Carpenter once dated Evans.
Before being sentenced, each of the defendants, some with tears in their eyes and others openly weeping, expressed remorse and apologized to Evans' family, though some said they knew their words might fall on deaf ears.
Bell's courtroom was overflowing with friends and family of Evans and of the defendants. Many had to wait outside during the emotional four-hour hearing.
"I couldn't imagine a case where the impact (of the crime) was greater than this one," said Bell, who listened intently to each of the defendants' allocutions, and then to those who spoke for the man they killed.
As Cheyenne Carpenter wept hysterically, Erica Evans read a letter written by her own 5-year-old daughter.
"Why did you let Cheyenne do this to my brother? I love you, brother,'' the girl wrote. "Cheyenne used to be my friend, but not anymore. You hurt my brother."
Prosecutors noted that Carpenter was the only one in the group who tried to talk Tarrosa out of committing the robberies and told him not to hurt anyone during the spree.
In the aftermath of the slaying, Palomino was the first member of the group to confess her role in the robberies to police. After arrests were made shots were fired at her home. At Friday's hearing, defense attorney Bill Terry implied that members of Tarrosa's gang were the shooters, though he said he has no proof.
The Evans murder is one of a half-dozen similar criminal cases now moving through the justice system involving valley youths seeking thrills through violent street robberies, authorities say.
Defendants in the deaths of Metropolitan Police Officer Trevor Nettleton and Eldorado High School teacher Timothy VanDerbosch and other incidents shared similar traits, specifically random robberies where money was not the primary motive. Those cases are awaiting trial.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039.