Before death, troubles piled up for ex-prosecutor Schubert

Weeks before the late former prosecutor David Schubert was released from prison, his ex-girlfriend and legal colleague went to Family Court seeking protection from him, court records obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal show.

In her successful application for a protective order, attorney Marian Kamalani said she needed help getting out of a “toxic relationship” with Schubert, who was a respected chief deputy district attorney until he fell from grace after a drug conviction.

Fueled by alcohol abuse and hatred for the judge who put him behind bars, his life was spiraling out of control before he was sent to prison last November, and Kamalani said it was ruining her life.

“The entire relationship was plagued by insanity and madness,” Kamalani wrote. “I feel he is still angry at the world because of the outcome of his case.”

After Schubert, 49, was released from prison on April 29, his life continued its downward slide. He returned to heavy drinking, had trouble finding a job and saw his financial woes deepen — all under the nose of the state parole officers who were supervising him.

It ended Wednesday, when authorities found his body at his 8448 Cambrils Ave. home. The body was badly decomposed, indicating he may have been dead for weeks, and a note was discovered nearby. His last Facebook post on June 27, simply said, “Its peaceful.”

Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy said Friday his office performed an autopsy and had to formally identify Schubert through dental records because the body was not “facially recognizable.”

Murphy said he won’t rule on Schubert’s cause of death until he sees the results of toxicology and pathology tests in about six weeks.

In her application for the protective order, Kamalani said Schubert had been obsessed with getting back at District Judge Carolyn Ellsworth.

After Schubert lost his job with the district attorney’s office and pleaded guilty to buying cocaine, Ellsworth sentenced him to nine months in prison.

It was hard to take. Schubert once prosecuted the likes of Paris Hilton and Bruno Mars, who were given probation for similar drug convictions.

On Sept. 21, the day he was supposed to surrender, Schubert fled to Mexico with Kamalani’s help. He learned the day before that the Nevada Supreme Court had temporarily suspended his license.

After his arrest at the border and return to Las Vegas two weeks later, Schubert told the Review-Journal in a jailhouse interview that he didn’t believe he was treated fairly by the legal system.

His disdain for Ellsworth never let up, Kamalani wrote in her application.

“While we lived and worked together for nine months, the case dictated the course of the relationship,” Kamalani said. “It was the topic of conversation — and we were consumed by one thing — not letting the District Court judge win.

“There were times when it seemed that a victory was possible through writs that were filed with the Supreme Court, and during those times everything was fine. But when the case was dealt huge blows, everything went to hell and it went to hell really fast.”

Kamalani said Schubert was controlling and manipulative and would often take his anger out on her.

Both Kamalani and Schubert worked for attorney Louis Schneider at the time. Schneider was helping Schubert with his appeal of Ellsworth’s sentence.

According to Kamalani, who still works for Schneider, Schubert drank so heavily at times that he would miss work for several days, sometimes a week, at a time.

Schubert never accepted responsibility for his actions and had done an “excellent job” of hiding a “serious substance abuse problem,” Kamalani wrote.

She declined to comment last week on her stormy relationship with Schubert.

However, she said what she wrote in her application was “100 percent accurate,” and she had made Schubert’s parole officers aware of those circumstances before Schubert’s release.

Schneider said the former prosecutor spent several weeks in a halfway house after he got out of prison and did not return to work for him.

But Schneider added that he kept in contact with Schubert after he became a free man and tried to help him with his troubled personal life.

“I had some concerns about Dave’s conduct, and I had several conversations with Parole and Probation in an effort to get Dave some help,” Schneider said. “I don’t know what probation did after the conversations.”

A spokesman for the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation could not be reached for comment late Friday.

In an email to colleagues last week, UNLV law professor Mary Berkheiser said Schubert’s life toward the end did not resemble the compassionate student she saw at her juvenile justice clinic several years ago.

“David was such a decent, good man who made me proud to have been a part of his life at Boyd, and I want us all to remember him completely and take what lessons we can from his life both here at Boyd and beyond,” she wrote.

Berkheiser said Schubert was a “fierce advocate for the rights of his young clients” at her clinic, causing her to wonder whether he really was suited for being a prosecutor.

A few years after Schubert graduated from law school in 2001, Berkheiser said, he emailed her to say he was glad he had taken her course. He told her it helped him “be more understanding of those he was prosecuting and not always go for the jugular in seeking the toughest possible penalty.”

But as Schubert’s professional life flourished in the district attorney’s office, his personal life started to show cracks. In 2005, Schubert and his wife of 10 years divorced, and she remarried and moved out of state with their two children.

He continued living in the family’s four-bedroom home on Miners Ridge Drive on the east side of the valley just a stone’s throw from the Clark County Wetlands Park.

A month after the divorce, he refinanced the house for $57,000 more than the original mortgage from two years earlier. He used the 1,730-square-foot house as collateral again in 2007 for a $64,800 revolving line of credit, according to county records.

In 2009 he bought the house he would eventually die in, a new 3,495-square-foot home in the Mountain’s Edge community in the southwest valley.

Despite owning two homes purchased or refinanced at the peak of Las Vegas’ housing bubble, Schubert kept up with his payments.

That changed after his March 2011 cocaine arrest, which cost him his $118,000 prosecutor’s salary.

He fell behind on his trash bill and his homeowners association dues, which prompted the HOA to start foreclosing on his Miners Ridge house in July 2012.

He also was slow in making the home’s mortgage payments. By the time the bank filed for foreclosure on the Miners Ridge house in March, Schubert owed more than $22,000 in back payments.

The house was sold in foreclosure that same month under the HOA’s filing.

Schubert’s troubled finances recently became apparent at his Cambrils Avenue home. In April, the Mountain’s Edge homeowners association filed a lien for more than $1,000 in unpaid dues and fees.

Schubert filed a homestead exemption on the property in May shortly after being paroled. A homestead exemption prevents the sale of a home to satisfy creditors.

On Monday, his neighborhood homeowners association filed for foreclosure over $1,972 in unpaid dues.

By that time, Schubert was dead.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter. Contact Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

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