Trial ordered in valley crime spree

Two men charged in a months-long valley crime spree that included two slayings will stand trial for fatally shooting a 64-year-old man and wounding his wife, a Las Vegas justice of the peace ruled Wednesday.

Gregory Hover, 38, and Richard Freeman, 19, face multiple felony charges, including murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery and burglary relating to the January slaying of Julio Romero.

Authorities allege that on Jan. 24 Hover went to the Romero home, near Russell Road and Jones Boulevard, looking to serve legal papers. Hover was employed as a process server for Junes Legal Service, a legal support business.

Authorities say Hover returned to the home at 1 a.m. In March, Romero's wife, Roberta Romero, testified that Hover killed her husband, shot her in the face and robbed their residence.

Authorities have said much of what police know about the crime spree came from Freeman's confessions.

Las Vegas homicide detective Cliff Mogg testified Wednesday that Freeman told police he was in the car while Hover was in the Romeros' home. Freeman said he tried to withdraw money using bank cards Hover took from the home, Mogg said. Hover gave him $200 from jewelry pawned after the robbery, Freeman told police.

Freeman told investigators he went along with the robbery because Hover threatened to kill him if he didn't, Mogg said.

"I thought it was an excuse to minimize" his culpability, Mogg said of Freeman's explanation of his role. The detective explained that Freeman was out of Hover's presence often during the crime spree and could have called police but didn't.

The district attorney's death penalty committee is expected to review the case and decide whether Hover and Freeman should face capital punishment in the case.

In a separate case, prosecutors already are seeking the death penalty against Hover and Freeman for the slaying of Prisma Ivette Contreras.

Authorities allege Hover and Freeman kidnapped Contreras as she left her job at the Hooters Hotel, then raped her, strangled her and cut her throat. The 21-year-old woman's body was found Jan. 15 in a burned-out car south of Boulder City.

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