89°F
weather icon Clear

Las Vegas man who killed teen girl gets death penalty

A Las Vegas man should be executed for shooting and killing 15-year-old Alexus Postorino inside her home, a jury decided Thursday.

It was the sentence 41-year-old Norman Belcher asked for.

Just before being convicted of first-degree murder a day earlier, Belcher, a longtime felon, told District Judge Elissa Cadish he was “fine with the death penalty.”

Prosecutors said Belcher shot Alexus, the daughter of a man he thought shut him out of an illicit drug trade, four times at close range while she was in her father’s bedroom.

Belcher said he preferred a solitary life on death row to being housed with other inmates in the general population of a prison.

“We gave him something he wanted, but we felt he deserved it,” jury foreman Jason Platner said. “He might outlive it, and so be it, but he can’t hurt anybody else in the meantime.”

Belcher refused to show up to court Thursday, instead sitting in jail while his attorneys argued for a sentence of life in prison. Had Belcher attended, he would have heard emotional testimony by Alexus’s friends and family, which brought tears to the eyes of jurors and prosecutors alike.

Alisiana Brooks had hoped to confront the killer of her “god sister,” a girl she described as a weekend rollerskating partner and sidekick in mall shenanigans.

“I wanted to address Norman Belcher,” Brooks said. “I wanted to let him know how he changed my life. And he’s a coward.”

An image of Alexus flashed on a large monitor facing the jury. Even as a young girl, she dreamed of becoming a lawyer so she could make a difference in the world around her, Brooks told jurors.

“She was better than this,” Brooks said. “She shouldn’t have her face up on this screen. We were raised in a certain lifestyle, but we were determined to be better than what happened.”

Alexus lay dying as Belcher stood over her and fired perhaps the last of four shots into the girl’s body, according to trial testimony. Two of her wounds were from gunshots fired at close range into her chest.

Prosecutors alleged that Belcher, also known as Norman Bates, broke into the Postorino home in December 2010 because of a drug-related dispute with the girl’s father, who was at a casino at the time of the killing.

In the days before Alexus was gunned down, Belcher sent threatening text messages to William Postorino, whom he thought owed him $450 for forged drug prescriptions.

“I’m actually hoping that you don’t pay me, because I then feel like I’m following protocol,” Belcher wrote in one message. “So 450 or war. An element of surprise.”

Another man who was inside the home, Nicholas Brabham, testified at the start of trial that he recognized Belcher after he burst into the home.

Throughout trial, Belcher’s lawyers suggested that William Postorino’s involvement in illicit drugs meant that anyone could have been out to rob him.

Outside court, after jurors delivered the sentence, defense attorney Robert Draskovich pointed to years of possible appeals guaranteed to Belcher because of the death penalty.

“They’ve now guaranteed decades of litigation and more strict scrutiny of the verdict. Norman Belcher knew this. And the state knew this. … He knew he’d have better housing conditions, and he’d have mandatory appeals paid for by the state. Both he and the state of Nevada were complicit in furthering the litigation of this matter.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Giancarlo Pesci disputed the comments.

“The idea that a life without (sentence) ends the process is just not accurate and that’s a misguided approach,” the prosecutor said. “It’s not true that a life without sentence ends the appellate process.”

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

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST