A jury deliberated for less than 20 minutes Monday before finding a Las Vegas man guilty of stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death in front of her daughter in 2015.
During closing arguments, 50-year-old Leonard Woods, representing himself, told the jury that evidence in the case had been fabricated and that witnesses who testified against him were actors.
Prosecutors said Woods fatally stabbed 41-year-old Josie Jones in front of her then-15-year-old daughter outside a Walgreens on Aug. 5, 2015.
Woods said the stabber seen in surveillance video from the Walgreens at Tropicana Avenue and Decatur Boulevard was not him. He asked why the video was not “enhanced” and why facial recognition was not used to determine whether he was the attacker.
“We live in a world of science,” Woods said. “We live in a world of forensics, DNA, CSI, etc.”
He also said that a recorded jailhouse phone call between him and a friend had been fabricated.
In the recording, Woods tells the man on the other line “I did something to Josie, but I don’t think she’s going to make it.”
“They had to use actors and jailhouse people who knew nothing about this case,” Woods told the jury.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeff Rogan said in closing arguments Woods had a motive to kill Jones: He went to jail after she reported him to police for an unrelated crime, then she moved across town to hide from him.
Woods had previously told Jones that he would kill her and her children and burn down their house if she left him, Rogan said.
“The question of who could do something like this, who could treat another human being so callously, that falls to you,” Rogan told the jury.
Woods argued that he had nothing to do with Jones’ death. He said it wasn’t clear how Jones died, reminding the jury that a medical examiner testified there was a possibility that Jones died because of actions of the people who treated her after the stabbing.
Jones was stabbed 16 times in her chest, neck and stomach.
After the stabbing, Woods turned himself in to police. He told officers he had been involved in an “incident” at the Walgreens.
Woods was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder with a deadly weapon, two counts of taking an image of another person’s private area and one count of open gross lewdness.
Woods will return to court Tuesday morning to face two counts of prohibited person in possession of a firearm. He remained in custody at the Clark County Detention Center.