A mixed martial arts fighter arrested following the death of a former UNLV football player was released from jail Wednesday when prosecutors did not file a criminal complaint against him in Las Vegas Justice Court.
Jason Simon Sindelar, 25, had been arrested by Las Vegas police and faced murder charges in the beating death of 26-year-old DeMario Reynolds Sr. in a Strip hotel room early Saturday.
Police said Reynolds was trying to break up a fight between Sindelar and his girlfriend in a Luxor hotel room at the time.
Clark County District Attorney David Roger said his office was waiting for the county coroner's office to complete an autopsy of Reynolds before moving forward with the case.
"In order to properly evaluate the case, we need to review the autopsy report to determine the cause and manner of death," Roger said.
Once the autopsy is completed, Roger said, prosecutors will review the case and determine what charges, if any, should be filed.
Reynolds' family was outraged that Sindelar was released.
"How do you let a murderer out? How do you let somebody who does this walk the street?" said Marguerite Clark, cousin and a self-described surrogate mother to Reynolds. "I'm absolutely appalled," Clark said. "It's scary."
Christina Reynolds, sister of the slain man, said Sindelar should have remained in jail until the autopsy was completed.
A justice of the peace already had determined that police had probable cause to arrest Sindelar on a murder charge. Prosecutors were given more time to file a formal complaint against him at what is called a "72-hour hearing," which was held Wednesday morning in Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure's courtroom. But because no complaint was filed, police could no longer hold Sindelar.
Roger stressed the importance of knowing the cause and manner of death before moving forward in a homicide case, explaining that the cause of DeMario Reynolds' death was not as obvious as a gunshot wound.
DeMario Reynolds and Sindelar were friends after having met at the Luxor two years ago, Christina Reynolds said. They both worked promoting clubs inside the hotel, she said.
Christina Reynolds said she liked Sindelar, too.
"When I introduced people to Jason, I'd say, 'This is the coolest person,' " she said.
But she felt Sindelar was jealous of her brother, who was popular and athletic.
"It's so unfortunate that this had to happen to my brother," she said.
According to Sindelar's arrest report, Iman Aubrey, DeMario Reynolds' 43-year-old fianceé and the operator of a website for prospective swingers, told investigators Reynolds was trying to stop a fight between Sindelar and his girlfriend in a hotel room bathroom at 4 a.m. Saturday.
Aubrey and other witnesses told police that Sindelar had grabbed his girlfriend by the throat and slapped her, which prompted Reynolds to grab Sindelar and pull him to the floor. Reynolds told Sindelar he didn't want to fight and tried to calm down the professional fighter.
The confrontation between the men continued in the master bedroom, where Sindelar "continuously hit Reynolds in the head and chest," witnesses said.
Sindelar left the suite but quickly returned and began beating Reynolds in the face and chest again. Reynolds was in a defensive position at that point.
Sindelar left a second time and security was called. Reynolds was taken to Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
During an interview with detectives, Sindelar said Reynolds grabbed him by the throat while he was arguing with his girlfriend. He told police that no physical altercation had occurred, but he had "several visible injuries" on his body, according to the arrest report.
Reynolds was a 6-foot-tall, 210-pound linebacker who last played for UNLV in 2005, according to the athletic department's website. He also played for Las Vegas High School.
Reynolds graduated from UNLV and was working at a Luxor nightclub.
According to a mixed martial arts website, Sindelar, a Las Vegas resident, had one professional fight in North Dakota in 2008 and four amateur fights.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@ review journal.com or 702-380-1039. Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0440.