A 42-year-old man on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to charges he fatally shot one man and injured two security guards at Drai’s After Hours nightclub inside Bally’s on the Strip in October.
Benjamin Frazier faces six counts, including one count each of murder and carrying a concealed firearm and two counts each of attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon.
Authorities said Frazier opened fire in Bally’s, at 3645 Las Vegas Blvd. South, at Flamingo Road, after an argument at the entrance to Drai’s.
When Kenneth Brown, 40, saw Frazier, shoot two Bally’s security guards, Robert Farias and Anthony Guerrero, Brown jumped on the man’s back and wrestled for the gun, according to police.
Brown, who had recently moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles and worked as a club promoter and stand-up comedian, was fatally shot in the neck and upper chest.
Both guards survived.
The argument started over a $30 cover charge.
Frazier asked club security whether he could go in and preview the crowd before paying the fee. Police said he decided to pay the cover and went inside but came out shortly afterward demanding a refund because the club wasn’t full.
He pulled a .38 caliber revolver on Farias during the argument and began firing as several people attempted to disarm him, police said.
Farias was shot in the arm and chest. Frazier then shot Guerrero in the stomach, according to his arrest report. That’s when Brown, who was leaving the nightclub, intervened and tackled Frazier.
Other patrons and guards held Frazier after Brown was shot. Frazier’s revolver was not registered in Clark County.
His lawyer, relative Robert Beckett, said Frazier doesn’t remember anything from the morning of Oct. 21.
Frazier has a history of violent crimes in Las Vegas.
He was sentenced to probation for a June 30, 1996, incident at Cheetahs strip club for which he pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon.
Most recently, Frazier pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor battery count for a fight on Feb. 29, 2012, when he punched a bartender at a Strip casino and kicked another man. He was sentenced to six months of probation and ordered to take alcohol counseling.
The murder case probably will be reviewed by the district attorney’s death penalty committee now that a grand jury has indicted Frazier.
The death penalty committee, whose meetings are not open to the public, looks at several factors when considering capital punishment, including whether there are aggravating factors in the case including past convictions, whether a jury would impose the death penalty as punishment and whether a conviction would stand up under appeal.
Frazier remains jailed at the Clark County Detention Center without bail.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review journal.com or 702-380-1039.