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Jury convicts man in retrial of fatal 2007 Luxor bombing

A 45-year-old man was found guilty Friday in the 2007 fatal bombing atop the Luxor parking garage.

Prosecutors said in a retrial for Omar Rueda-Denvers that he conspired to build a metal pipe bomb to kill his ex-girlfriend and her new lover.

Jurors took about five hours Friday to convict him of murder, attempted murder, possession of an explosive or incendiary device and transportation or receipt of explosives.

Prosecutors Christopher Hamner and Eckley Keach said the verdict was appropriate.

“What this man did to these people and even the city was terrifying,” Hamner said. “We’re glad that once again he’s being held accountable for what he did, which was cold-blooded murder.”

Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio, 27, died in the explosion when he unwittingly picked up the bomb atop his car after his shift at the Luxor. Caren Chali, the mother of Rueda-Denvers’ then-3-year-old daughter, was miraculously unhurt in the blast.

The killing initially stoked fears of a possible terrorist attack on the Strip, but investigators quickly zeroed in on two suspects.

Rueda-Denvers, now 45, and his friend Porfirio Duarte-Herrera were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Prosecutors initially sought the death penalty.

In 2019, a federal judge granted Rueda-Denvers a new trial, ruling that he was unable to cross-examine his co-defendant, whose incriminating statements to police were presented to the jury.

The retrial began last month and was halted after a juror tested positive for COVID-19, before resuming on Monday.

Prosecutors painted Rueda-Denvers as a jealous ex-lover who was obsessed with Chali and once watched from a distance as Chali and Antonio had sex in a car in the Luxor parking lot.

But defense attorney Christopher Oram, who also represented Rueda-Denvers at the first trial, said he followed Chali because she was keeping his daughter away from him.

Jurors watched surveillance video that showed a silver Chevrolet Cobalt drive around the rooftop and park next to Antonio’s vehicle. Another black-and-white surveillance video showed Antonio and Chali walking arm-in-arm to the parking garage.

The video showed a nearly panoramic view of the roof of the darkened parking garage, crowded with vehicles.

As two people were about to enter a car, a flash burst on the screen.

Oram argued that Duarte-Herrera was a “weirdo” who had a history of bomb making.

His client had only worked in that shed for a month, and the bomb was made three months before, he said.

Oram said he planned to appeal Friday’s verdict.

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

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