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Man found guilty of killing two women in 2016 shooting near Strip

Updated October 10, 2023 - 7:22 pm

More than seven years after two women were fatally shot near the Strip, a jury has found a 38-year-old man guilty of the double homicide.

Omar Talley has been on trial for nearly two weeks for the killings of Northern California women Melissa Mendoza, 27, and Jennifer Chicas, 27. He was accused of killing the two women and shooting and injuring Jerraud Jackson on Feb. 19, 2016.

The jury began deliberating on Monday morning and came back with the verdict Tuesday afternoon. Talley was found guilty of attempted murder and two counts of murder with a deadly weapon.

Talley showed little emotion as the verdict was read, but family members of Mendoza and Chicas cried with relief while sitting in the courtroom.

Mendoza and Chicas were best friends who did everything together, said Mendoza’s mother, Tonette Mendoza. She said her family and Chicas’ family have leaned on their faith during the lengthy trial and prayed for justice before the verdict was read.

“I just prayed, let the jury see the truth,” Tonette Mendoza said.

Authorities allege that the women were in a car with Jackson at the Miracle Mile Shops parking garage at Planet Hollywood Resort when Jackson and Talley got into an argument. Security footage showed Talley walking to the driver’s side of a silver Hyundai sedan and pointing a gun at the driver, according to his arrest report.

Shortly after, police received a report of gunfire just west of the Strip, at Harmon and Polaris avenues.

Chicas was found lying in the roadway with a gunshot wound to her chest and later died at University Medical Center.

Mendoza then drove the silver Hyundai into The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ valet area about five minutes after the shooting. Both she and Jackson had been shot, and Mendoza died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Talley initially faced capital punishment in the case, but prosecutors announced during a court hearing in May 2022 that they were withdrawing the notice of intent to seek the death penalty, court records show.

According to Talley’s arrest report, he told police that he saw two men fighting in the Miracle Mile Shops parking garage and he decided to “help out.” He claimed he was involved in the fight briefly, until security officers told everyone to leave the garage.

He claimed he did not shoot anyone and that he had a BB gun with him, although he would not tell police where it was, according to the report. Talley also told police he had been drinking and smoking marijuana that night, and remembered little of what happened.

Jackson testified to a grand jury in 2016 that he was in Las Vegas that weekend with Mendoza and Chicas, who was his sister-in-law, for a family celebration. He testified that a fight broke out in the parking garage after a group of men were calling the women rude names, according to transcripts of the hearing.

After security broke up the fight, he was put in the backseat of the Hyundai when he heard Chicas scream that a man had a gun. Jackson testified that Mendoza was driving as another vehicle chased them out of the parking garage, and someone opened fire on their car.

When the car slowed down, Jackson testified that he heard his sister-in-law screaming for Mendoza to wake up. He testified that he saw someone approaching the car, so he leaned over and threw the car into reverse before driving off again, ending up at The Cosmopolitan.

“Last thing I remember is just letting the car just go,” Jackson testified in 2016. “Like, I don’t even remember going into The Cosmopolitan. I don’t remember anything of that.”

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

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