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Clark County prosecutors to seek death for suspect in 3 killings

Updated August 27, 2021 - 12:30 pm

Prosecutors said Friday that they plan to seek capital punishment for a man charged in a three-day string of robberies and shootings that left three people dead.

John Anthony Carrillo, 29, faces three counts of murder in the July deaths of Ruben Garcia, 36, Abraham Acosta, 32, and Miles Smith, 55.

“This is one of those exceptional cases where I feel comfortable giving the jury the option to impose the death penalty,” Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said.

Wolfson noted that Carrillo is accused of randomly killing three people with no apparent motive, “and he has multiple prior violent felony convictions.”

Authorities have said Smith, who was found dead in an apartment near Charleston Boulevard and Eastern Avenue, was killed before two fatal shootings days earlier.

Garcia was shot and killed at a home near Oakey Boulevard and Eastern Avenue, and Acosta was fatally shot more than 12 hours later in Henderson, at a gas station near Silverado Ranch Boulevard and Maryland Parkway, authorities said.

Carrillo told police officers that he had smoked methamphetamine prior to his arrest, according to court records. Investigators believe that drug use played a role in the shootings and that all of the shootings were unprovoked, police said at the time.

The defendant’s attorney, Robert Langford, was critical of the decision by prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

“We are disappointed with the district attorney’s decision and intend to challenge the notice,” Langford said. “And we would remind the district attorney that no one has unwillingly been executed in decades. And so this is a huge waste of taxpayer money.”

Nevada’s last execution was carried out in 2006, when Daryl Mack was put to death for the rape and murder of a Reno woman, Betty Jane May, in 1988. Mack was what is considered a “volunteer” who gave up his appeals.

Before the rash of crimes in Southern Nevada, Carrillo was released earlier this year from a California prison, where he served time for assault with force likely to cause bodily injury.

Prosecutors said Carrillo also was suspected of stabbing his father in Gilroy, California.

Carrillo is charged in six separate crimes that started June 29 and ended with the fatal shootings, police have said.

Along with murder, Carillo faces three counts of robbery and two counts of attempted robbery, five counts of burglary and kidnapping, and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

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

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