weather icon Partly Cloudy

Counsel appointed for DUI suspect accused of killing NHP troopers

Updated December 5, 2023 - 7:26 pm

A man accused of a DUI crash that killed two Nevada Highway Patrol troopers appeared Tuesday in court again.

Jemarcus Williams, 46, has been charged with two counts each of DUI, failing to stop at the scene of a crash, reckless driving resulting in death, plus misdemeanor charges of speeding, failing to properly approach a traffic incident and failing to decrease speed under certain circumstances, court records show.

He made a brief court appearance on Tuesday in front of Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure, who appointed public defenders Michael Yohay and Anna Clark to represent Williams.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Eric Bauman filed a Marcum notice, which prosecutors use to reserve the right to bring the case to a grand jury.

After Tuesday’s hearing, Yohay said that the public defenders still have to review the evidence in the case, but that he expects to “vigorously defend” Williams.

Yohay and Clark declined to comment further.

Police have said Williams struck and killed Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael Abbate and trooper Alberto Felix early Thursday while the two officers were stopped on Interstate 15 near D Street.

Abbate and Felix had stopped on the highway to check on another motorist, who had appeared to have fallen asleep behind the wheel, police have said.

Williams sped away from the scene and was arrested later Thursday. He was seen “heavily intoxicated” at the Palms casino shortly before the crash, prosecutors have said.

According to Williams’ arrest report, he spilled his drink, used furniture to hold himself upright and dropped his phone multiple times while at the Palms.

Security officers followed Williams out of the casino and told him that if he got into his vehicle, they would call the police.

About 3:15 a.m., Williams was seen “hiding from security behind a large tree” until security officers walked away.

He then ran to his vehicle and got into the driver’s seat, and the vehicle was last seen driving down Flamingo Road towards Interstate 15.

When interviewed by police, Williams first claimed that his friend was driving the vehicle. He then told police, “It’s me, I f---ed up I was driving, I wrecked him, I wrecked him,” according to the report.

A Nevada State Police badge was found during a search of the vehicle Williams had been driving, although it was unclear from the report who the badge belonged to or if it was found inside or outside the car.

Williams remains in the Clark County Detention Center with a $500,000 bail.

He waived his right to a speedy preliminary hearing on Tuesday and was ordered to appear in court again on Jan. 30.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.