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Jury convicts man in slaying of 20-year-old woman

A man prosecutors said shot a 20-year-old woman in the back of the head and neck at a Las Vegas resort was found guilty of first-degree murder on Tuesday.

Michael Land, who represented himself during the trial, hung his head as the jury’s verdict was read.

The 40-year-old was convicted of killing Bailley Short, who was found dead on Aug. 15, 2018, in an alleyway on the property of Tahiti Village, 7200 S. Las Vegas Blvd.

Short’s mother, who sat with other family members as the verdict was read, cried quietly when Land was convicted.

“There really aren’t any winners in the end because his life’s ruined and my daughter’s not here,” Barbara Short told the Review-Journal, her voice shaking with emotion. “But she got justice, and that’s what’s important.”

Prosecutor Christopher Hamner argued that Land led Short down a dark alley and “executed her,” shooting her in the back of the head and again at close-range in the back of the neck.

Hamner said Land “awkwardly” tried and failed to cover up the crime, contradicting himself during a nearly two-hour long police interview and again when he took the witness stand on Monday.

“When you watch his interview, he thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room, and he’s not,” Hamner said.

Investigators linked Land to Short’s killing through a gun found in his home, which matched bullets and bullet casings found at the scene. The gun also had Land’s DNA on it, and a 20-pack of bullets was found in Land’s home, with only two missing.

During cross-examination on Monday, Land admitted to lying in the police interview about knowing Short’s name, going on a date with her in the past, being with her on the night she died, and owning a gun.

Police believe Land was one of two men who were with Short in the early hours of Aug. 15, according to Land’s arrest report. A man whom Short would pay for rides told police he drove her to pick up another man at Aria.

The man knew Short as a sex worker, and Short told him she was going to meet a “regular” client named Mike, the report said.

Security footage captured Land and Short walking on the Tahiti Village property, toward the area where Short’s body was later found. Only one person was on video walking away from the scene, Hamner said during opening statements last week.

Land told jurors on Monday that prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he shot Short. Land said he thought Short was “in trouble” on the night she was killed, and he met with her to help. He said Short stopped to get food at Jack in the Box, but he left her after the driver dropped them off near Tahiti Village.

“Where is the malice proved between me and the victim throughout this entire investigation?” Land said. “You’re not going to find it, ‘cause there is none.”

District Judge Michelle Leavitt ordered Land back in court for sentencing on Jan. 21.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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