Ten days after Debbie Flores Narvaez went missing, Jason “Blu” Griffith lied to and tried to mislead Las Vegas homicide detectives about where the Fantasy dancer was, according to testimony at his ongoing murder trial Friday.
In a 90-minute interview with detective Dan Long on Dec. 22, 2010, Griffith, an ex-Cirque du Soleil performer, described two other men she had relationships with who may have wanted to hurt her and lied about only having a brief conversation with her on Dec. 12 before he said she drove off, never to be heard from again.
In the recorded interview, which was played for the jury, Griffith said Flores Narvaez, then 31, was suicidal because their relationship was ending and suggested detectives search for her at an overpass at Windmill Lane and the 215 Beltway.
Prosecutors say Griffith, 35, strangled Flores Narvaez and in the following days he and his roommate dismembered and hid her body in concrete-filled tubs in an empty downtown home.
Defense lawyers have told the jury that Griffith acted in self-defense when the two fought at his North Las Vegas home on Dec. 12, 2010. She was a violent stalker who had repeatedly harassed him, the lawyers said.
The lawyers have asked the jury to separate Flores Narvaez’s death from how Griffith and his roommate dismembered and hid her body.
During the interview, Griffith described himself as a philanderer, who was having separate affairs with as many as seven women at a time. He was an entertainer and performer and it was “Las Vegas,” he explained.
He described his relationship with Flores Narvaez as volatile because he was spending too much time with other women. Another issue that put stress on the relationship, according to Griffith, was Flores Narvaez becoming pregnant and having an abortion.
Griffith said he tried to end the relationship after falling in love with Agnes Roux, a dancer for the Cirque du Soleil show “Zumanity.”
But after some time apart, he got back together with Flores Narvaez under the condition that she was his woman “on the side,” to which she agreed, he told detectives. Flores Narvaez also suggested that she and Griffith could convince Roux to engage in a three-person relationship, according to Griffith.
Eventually, with Flores Narvaez demanding more and more of his attention and Griffith’s heart belonging to Roux, he decided to break it off.
Two days later Flores Narvaez disappeared, he said.
Griffith described Flores Narvaez as fiery and passionate. But that fire and passion would boil over when the two fought, sometimes resulting in domestic violence. Griffith said Flores Narvaez once followed him to Roux’s home, where Flores Narvaez slashed three of his car tires.
Detective Long testified that, after the Dec. 22 interview, investigators felt Griffith was not telling the truth because cellphone records indicated that her phone pinged from a cell tower in the area of Griffith’s home after he said she had left.
A break in the case came weeks later when Kalae Casorso, an ex-lover of Griffith, told police that around Dec. 15 Griffith and his roommate Louis Colombo had asked to store a concrete-filled plastic tub at her Henderson apartment. Casorso, who no longer lives in the Las Vegas Valley, testified Friday morning that when she asked Griffith what was in the tub, he responded, “It’s Debbie.”
Casorso told the jury that she didn’t go to police right away because she was “afraid that they can do that to me.” For weeks she was overwhelmed with stress and and became depressed, but eventually contacted police. After getting Casorso’s tip, police tracked down a U-Haul truck that Griffith and Colombo had used to transport the body.
Long testified that when homicide detectives interrogated Colombo in January 2011, he was sweating and fidgety, but wouldn’t tell them what happened to Flores Narvaez.
Detectives struggled with the idea of offering Colombo a deal, but did so because it was their only hope to find Flores Narvaez, Long said.
The deal was that as long as Colombo didn’t kill her, help plan to kill her, or do anything sexual with the body, he wouldn’t be charged in the case if he told the whole truth and testified against the killer, Long said.
Colombo agreed and led Long and other detectives to the body, which was hidden in concrete-filled tubs in a home in the 300 block of Bonanza Way, near Bonanza Road and Las Vegas Boulevard.
On Monday the jury could hear testimony from a medical examiner and Colombo.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @fjmccabe