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Henderson judge refuses to lower bail for teen murder suspect

Updated July 11, 2019 - 3:05 pm

The attorney for Noah Ray Hadley, accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend after a house party in Henderson last month, denied in court Thursday that the shooting was an act of domestic violence.

“This is not a case of premeditated murder,” attorney Erick Ferran declared as he argued for the 18-year-old suspect’s bail to be reduced. “This is just a stupid, horrible, tragic accident.”

Behind Ferran were a packed courtroom gallery, family members of both the suspect and the victim, Amelia “Mia” Suzanne Claypool, forced to sit among one another as Ferran and prosecutor Erika Mendoza revealed details about the June 27 shooting, Hadley’s checkered juvenile past and Claypool.

Justice of the Peace Stephen George nodded, glancing at Hadley, who, at times during the half-hour bail hearing, was crying and visibly shaking, the shackles around his arms and legs clinking together. George ultimately ruled that his bail amount would remain at $250,000.

“In the declaration of arrest, there are many, many, many inconsistencies, many issues of concern that I have that are unanswered questions,” he said.

Claypool was shot in the parking lot of a gated neighborhood near Horizon Ridge Parkway and Paradise Hills Drive. Hadley made the 911 call, at first reporting that his girlfriend had been shot by “some random guy,” according to his arrest report.

By the time of his arrest hours later, on one count of murder, he had changed his story at least three times, the report shows. Claypool died at a hospital of a single gunshot wound to the chest. She was 19.

“What I think you have here was a shaken-up kid after the accident,” Ferran said Thursday.

Mendoza, the prosecutor, questioned Hadley’s character, saying he had a “reckless disregard for the danger of a gun” that morning.

She also revealed that he had been “arrested over and over again the last couple years.” In at least one of the four recent juvenile cases against him, she said, Hadley was convicted — although she did not elaborate on the charges.

“I think we know what he will do when he’s in trouble,” Mendoza said. “When he was faced with trouble at the time Amelia was killed, he lied to the police over and over again, tried to hide evidence and tried to get himself out of trouble.”

After the shot was fired, according to the report, Hadley thrust the handgun believed to have been used in the shooting at a friend, who then hid the gun under the driver’s seat of his truck before officers arrived. Police later recovered the weapon.

“But one of the most persuasive things is the Snapchat video,” Mendoza said.

Police obtained a video posted to Hadley’s Snapchat account seven minutes before the 911 call. In the three-second video, Hadley is holding the black handgun that Henderson police suspect was used in Claypool’s killing, according to the report.

“(The video) shows an absolute reckless disregard for the danger of a gun. He’s at a party with multiple alcoholic beverages, showing off and playing with a gun like it’s a toy, almost bolstering himself, trying to look cool in front of his friends,” she said. “And lo and behold, immediately after … Amelia is shot.”

Claypool, a 2018 Coronado High School graduate and competitive cheerleader, had just wrapped up her freshman year at University of Nevada, Reno, and was set to return in the fall.

“We have a huge family here of an incredibly promising young woman who is no longer with us, and their lives are forever altered,” Mendoza said.

The victim leaves behind her parents, Lee Ann Pretto and Blain Claypool; her siblings, Christian and Olivia; and her grandparents.

Hadley is being held at the Clark County Detention Center. His preliminary hearing has been set for Aug. 1.

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

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