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Las Vegas woman, accused of killing boyfriend with car, has bail set at $750K

Updated May 30, 2024 - 7:20 pm

A Las Vegas judge set bail at $750,000 on Thursday for a woman accused of intentionally striking and killing her boyfriend with her car.

Justice of the Peace Noreen DeMonte set the bail after Chief Deputy District Attorney Sarah Overly only asked for a $500,000 bail for 30-year-old Julie Bush.

DeMonte said she was concerned over an allegation that Bush told police she had consumed fentanyl before hitting her boyfriend, 51-year-old Richard Penardo, with her car.

“I did take into account financial means,” DeMonte said. “However, I am setting bail at an amount I believe she can’t afford.”

Police were called Friday evening to a neighborhood near 17th Street and Bonita Avenue, and found Bush leaning over her injured boyfriend on a sidewalk, according to her arrest report.

Bush told police that she had found another woman’s tampons in Penardo’s trash and confronted him, the report said. At some point, Bush got into her car and Penardo retrieved a long steel chain he began swinging at the vehicle.

She told police that she put the car in drive and “forgot she had the steering wheel cranked all the way to the right” when she accelerated and hit Penardo, the report said.

Penardo was hospitalized and died a day later from blunt-force injuries, according to the Clark County coroner’s office.

Overly argued Thursday that video from a neighbor’s doorbell camera showed that Bush had rear-ended Penardo’s truck and briefly left the area before driving back, at which point Penardo confronted her with the chain.

“She then takes her vehicle, turns it around, starts driving towards him, and purposefully — it’s quite evident in the video — takes the car and drives it directly into (Penardo),” Overly said.

Bush’s public defender, Lisa Chamlee-Brainard, argued that there are “ample defenses” in the case, including Penardo’s “extensive violent history, that is going to be a part of the defense.”

Bush was initially booked on charges of DUI, attempted murder and domestic battery. She has since been formally charged with one count of murder with a deadly weapon.

Overly said Thursday that prosecutors are awaiting the results of a blood test for Bush, which could lead to DUI charges.

Bush remained in the Clark County Detention Center on Thursday, jail records show. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for June 27.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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