Killer gets four life sentences


A former Clark County Republican Party treasurer was sentenced Wednesday to four consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2004 murder of his former wife and her father.

A District Court jury in May found John Chartier guilty of two counts of first-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon and one count of conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of Rachel Bernat and Carlos Aragon.

Bernat and Aragon were stabbed multiple times and left for dead at their home by Chartier's friend, David Wilcox.

Prosecutors said Wilcox acted out of loyalty when Chartier asked him to kill Bernat, 43, and Aragon, 65.

Chartier declined to speak at the sentencing hearing held before Judge Donald Mosley. The two extra life terms were added because a deadly weapon was used.

Prosecutors said the crime was rooted in a bitter custody dispute over the couple's young son. Bernat was planning to move to New Mexico with the boy.

Chartier and Wilcox were found guilty of the two murders in 2006, but the Nevada Supreme Court overturned Chartier's conviction two years later, saying the 41-year-old accountant should have received a separate trial.

The first jury also sentenced Chartier to multiple terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutor Robert Daskas called Chartier cowardly for sending his best friend to murder his ex-wife and her father.

Daskas said Bernat's two daughters, ages 10 and 11 at the time, were both home during the slaying.

"The only thing worse than losing their mom was watching it happen," Daskas said.

Daskas said one girl testified during the trial that she woke up "and watched her mom get stabbed to death by the man this defendant sent to that house. It was the most cowardly thing he could do. He couldn't even do it himself."

The key piece of evidence during the trial was a note that Chartier sent to Wilcox asking him to kill Bernat and Aragon. The note to Wilcox said, "Take out mom and grandpa," which prosecutors said referred to his son's mother and grandfather, Bernat and Aragon.

Chartier had instructed Wilcox to destroy the note so police wouldn't find it.

Chartier, who testified in his defense at the trial, said he didn't remember writing the note because he was high on prescription drugs and rum in the midst of a suicide attempt 26 months before the murders.

Jurors later said they didn't find Chartier's testimony credible.

Wilcox, 47, is serving multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole at High Desert State Prison. His appeal was denied by the state's high court.

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

 

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