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2 convicted in 2017 slaying of Las Vegas nursing student

Updated February 24, 2020 - 5:23 pm

Two men were convicted Monday in the 2017 robbery and murder of a 24-year-old Las Vegas nursing student.

Raekwon Robertson, 23, was found guilty of first-degree murder, attempted robbery and conspiracy charges. His co-defendant, Davontae Wheeler, 24, was found guilty of second-degree murder and conspiracy charges and acquitted on an attempted robbery charge.

Gabriel George Valenzuela, who was studying at the College of Southern Nevada, died of multiple gunshot wounds in August 2017.

Las Vegas police said at the time that Valenzuela got into a confrontation with four young men before he was shot at least three times in the driveway of his home on the 5500 block of West Dewey Drive, near Russell and Lindell roads. Police said Valenzuela lived with his family at the Dewey address. His family was inside during the shooting and heard the gunshots.

Another man charged in the killing, Demario Lofton-Robinson, is awaiting trial. His younger brother, who was 14 at the time, pleaded guilty in the case and testified during Robertson and Wheeler’s trial.

After his arrest in August 2017, Wheeler told the Review-Journal that he only knew only one of his three co-defendants and was at his sister’s house the morning Valenzuela was shot and killed in his driveway.

Wheeler said he knew Lofton-Robinson as “DJ” and met him through Facebook while trying to buy a gun. They arranged to meet in a white car — he didn’t remember the exact date — where Wheeler planned to buy a gun from Lofton-Robinson. Wheeler said he later left the meeting because he thought he would be robbed.

He said he didn’t learn of the shooting until he saw it on the news a few days later. Prosecutors said that Wheeler had a gun, but it was not used during the shooting.

After the verdict, his attorney James Ruggeroli said Wheeler had maintained his innocence throughout the trial, arguing that he was not present at the time of the shooting. Ruggeroli called the jury’s decision “strange.”

“I don’t understand it,” the attorney said, adding that he planned to appeal the verdict.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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