A 21-year-old woman accused of driving over and killing a Las Vegas nail salon manager was denied bail Tuesday.
In addition to a charge of murder with a deadly weapon, Krystal Whipple faces one count each of burglary, robbery with a deadly weapon and possession of a stolen vehicle in connection with the death of Nhu “Annie” Ngoc Nguyen.
Whipple was taken into custody Jan. 11 in Glendale, Arizona, nearly two weeks after Nguyen, a manager at Crystal Nails & Spa, 4983 W. Flamingo Road, was struck with a stolen rental car and dragged about 50 feet outside the salon.
Whipple’s attorney, Timothy Treffinger, had asked District Judge Douglas Herndon to set her bail at $100,000 with house arrest.
“This is a matter of a young person who panicked,” Treffinger said. “She’s never been in a situation like this before.”
But prosecutor Michael Schwartzer said Whipple had fled to Boulder City then Los Angeles in a stolen vehicle with fake identification before driving to Arizona, and planned to travel as far as North Carolina before her arrest.
In denying bail, Herndon said he considered Whipple’s actions after the encounter at the nail salon.
“That’s what tips things over in my mind to say people need to be held without bail,” the judge said.
Nguyen, a mother of three, was killed Dec. 29 after Whipple allegedly tried to pay for a $35 manicure with a credit card that was declined multiple times. The woman went outside, saying she was retrieving money, and attempted to leave.
The manager and her boyfriend followed Whipple outside to stop her, authorities said, but the woman got behind the wheel of a stolen black Camaro and struck Nguyen, dragging the 51-year-old across the parking lot, according to her boyfriend, Sonny Chung, who told reporters he “tried to hold the car back.”
In an interview with police after her arrest, Whipple told homicide detective Philip Depalma she never saw Nguyen in front of the car, according to court documents.
But the detective said video evidence from the scene showed the car’s brake lights flash before Whipple sped off.
After Tuesday’s hearing, Treffinger suggested to reporters that he would seek a negotiation with prosecutors before an April trial.