Las Vegas man gets life without parole for killing man with boulder

Coleman Vaoga stood quietly and showed no emotion Tuesday as a Las Vegas jury ordered him to spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Vaoga, 36, was convicted last week of crushing 51-year-old Jeffrey Clabaugh’s skull with a 63-pound boulder in December 2014. Clabaugh, a father of three, died of multiple blunt force injuries.

The slaying happened in a desert area behind a Green Valley Grocery near North Nellis Boulevard and East Craig Road. The two did not know each other.

According to an arrest report, Vaoga was in the convenience store when he noticed Clabaugh taking a box of fried chicken from his car for unknown reasons. Vaoga bolted outside and chased Clabaugh until he caught him, then began beating the man.

The beating lasted for about 40 minutes, prosecutors said. At one point, witnesses told police Vaoga paused the beating and asked if anyone had a knife so he could “end this guy.” When no one offered him a blade, he lifted up the boulder and dropped it on Clabaugh’s head.

Vaoga fled the scene but was later arrested.

Clabaugh’s two daughters and wife testified during the trial that Clabaugh was a loving and supportive father who had been living with his mother in Arizona since 2010, trying to find work.

None of them knew why Clabaugh was in Las Vegas the night he was killed. The news of his slaying came as a shock.

“The verdict was exactly what it needed to be,” said Clabaugh’s oldest child, Katie Clabaugh, 29, outside the courtroom late Tuesday.

Contact Rachel Crosby at or 702-380-8135. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.

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