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14-year-old murder suspect appears in Las Vegas court

Updated March 13, 2019 - 4:37 pm

The 14-year-old suspect in a gang-related shooting death last year made his initial court appearance Wednesday in Las Vegas Justice Court.

Miguel Magallon, accused in the Oct. 26 death of 18-year-old Aaron Rodriguez, entered Judge Amy Chelini’s courtroom wearing a dark-blue jail jumpsuit and shackles. He turned 14 just two months before the shooting, jail records show.

In a text message to the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Wednesday, District Attorney Steve Wolfson said Magallon “may be the youngest person ever charged with murder” in Clark County.

Magallon was certified as an adult March 4, court records show, and was formally charged Friday with murder with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit murder, and discharging a firearm within or from a structure or vehicle.

The charges of murder and discharging a firearm also have a gang crime enhancement, which would add from one to 20 years onto his prison sentence for each charge if he is convicted, according to the state statute.

During his brief court appearance Wednesday, a special public defender was appointed to Magallon’s case before he was taken back to the Clark County Detention Center, where he is being held without bail. A status hearing for negotiations in the case was set for April 16.

Further details surrounding the shooting or how police identified Magallon as the suspect were not available, as his arrest report had not been released as of Wednesday afternoon.

But police have said that Rodriguez, a North Las Vegas resident, was found lying in the roadway of northbound Pecos Road, near Haddock Avenue, after residents in the area heard gunshots.

He was taken to University Medical Center and died of multiple gunshot wounds at the hospital, according to the Clark County coroner’s office.

Wolfson told the Review-Journal that before Magallon, two of the youngest people to be charged with murder in the county were Sandy Shaw and Conan Pope. Both were 15.

In what became known as the “show and tell” murder case, Shaw and two accomplices in 1986 lured 21-year-old James Cotton Kelly into the desert, where he was robbed of $1,400 and shot repeatedly in the face. In the days after the killing, Shaw took her friends to view the corpse, which was not discovered by authorities for six days, the Review-Journal reported at the time.

In January 2000, Pope was charged with murder in the death of his 62-year-old father, Frank — a shooting that his defense attorneys have said followed years of abuse.

Frank Pope had been convicted of second-degree murder in the 1962 death of his 11-month-old daughter.

Conan Pope pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter with a deadly weapon and was released in March 2007 from High Desert State Prison, according to state Department of Corrections records.

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Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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