Murder trial begins in girlfriend’s death originally ruled suicide

Updated May 5, 2017 - 3:23 pm

Prosecutors opened a trial Thursday in a decade-old murder case originally ruled a suicide with an image of the deceased woman’s boyfriend, then a graphic image of the fatal gunshot wound to the head that killed her.

Shaun Leflore, now 35, was arrested in 2013 and charged with the 2006 murder of his girlfriend, Chantel Hollowell, after police in Riverside, California, contacted Metro with information on Leflore’s charge of assault of another woman in 2010.

Hollowell’s death was investigated as a suicide after Leflore told police he watched Hollowell shoot herself. Prosecuting attorney Leah Beverly said Thursday the original case was closed in two to three hours after police interviewed Leflore and a neighbor whose house Leflore was moving into.

In 2010, police re-examined forensic evidence, leading them to note blood-spatter patterns that indicated Leflore shot Hollowell.

The 2013 arrest report said Leflore moved to Las Vegas with Hollowell and pimped her out as a prostitute.

That report says Hollowell’s family and friends told police that Leflore abused Hollowell and that she wanted to leave him and attend classes at UNLV.

‘Everything was going well’

Beverly described Hollowell as a bright young woman with no history of suicide attempts, other than an incident drinking nail polish when she was 13. “She was going through some things with her biological father and stepfather,” Beverly said.

Hollowell graduated from high school with top honors and attended California State University, Long Beach on a scholarship.

“Everything was going well in Chantel’s life until she met the defendant,” Beverly said, describing Leflore as an abusive and manipulative boyfriend who acted as Hollowell’s pimp and made her support him.

Leflore’s defense team painted Hollowell as a young woman who had gone through traumatizing events as a young girl, including repeated sexual molestation and a genetically inherited predisposition for mental illness that manifested in a psychotic episode in April 2006.

Defense attorney Nancy Lemcke played the calls to 911 Leflore made after Hollowell’s death. He could be heard hysterically shouting, “She shot herself,” over and over.

When Leflore’s police interview was played, he hunkered down in his chair and rubbed his eyes, crying quietly while listening to his own voice describe how they had broken up before her death but were still living and sleeping together.

Lemcke used a graphic of a table with many blocks placed on it, including those labeled “adverse childhood experiences,” “serious mental illness” and “recent self-harm” to demonstrate the pressure Hollowell supposedly felt before her death.

“She is doing anything she can to hold onto him,” Lemcke said.

‘I thought he was getting ready to kill me’

Prosecutors first called Vanessa Ramos, Hollowell’s childhood best friend in California and later an escort in Las Vegas to the stand.

Ramos described Hollowell in the days before her death as happy and full of life; having just turned 21, she was “just enjoying her life.”

Ramos also testified that Hollowell was dating someone else in the days before her death.

Another witness, Safiyah Attar, previously referred to as Sophia Johnson, recounted how she discovered Leflore was carrying on a simultaneous relationship with Hollowell while he dated her in California and Florida.

Though Attar said she left Leflore after living with him and his mother in California, he followed her back to Florida.

In an incident soon after, Attar said he beat and threatened to kill her with a gun to her temple after she confronted him about phone records showing he was calling Hollowell in California.

She said she heard him cock the gun. “I thought he was getting ready to kill me,” Attar said.

The trial continues Friday.

Contact Brooke Wanser at bwanser@reviewjournal.com. Follow @Bwanser_LVRJ on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Mojave Max at Springs Preserve
File footage of Mojave Max at Springs Preserve. (Springs Preserve)
Crime
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
LVMPD Looking For Robbery Suspect
The LVMPD Commercial Robbery Section is attempting to identify the pictured suspect who is responsible for committing robberies to businesses in the southern part of the Las Vegas Valley during the month of May 2018. The suspect enters the business, threatens the employee with a firearm and demands money from the register. The employee complies and the suspect flees the business.
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead at 2500 block of Ellis St., on Friday, June 8, 2018. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
1 dead in shooting at southwest Las Vegas home
A dispute between roommates led to the fatal shooting of one man in the backyard of their southwest Las Vegas Valley home on Monday, April 23, 2018. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Henderson Police Seek Armed Bank Robbery Suspect
This afternoon a male suspect entered the Bank of America, located at 2638 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, at about 12:40 p.m. As he entered the bank, he pulled a black mask down to conceal his face.The suspect is described as a late-forties to early-fifties white male adult, approximately 5 foot 8 inches to 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighing approximately 160 to 180 pounds He was last seen wearing a dark colored beanie, a grayish blue plaid shirt, dark jeans and dark colored shoes. His head was shaved on the sides and the top of his hair was dark in color. Vehicle was described as possibly a gray 2012-2014 four door Ford Focus. The license plates were covered with black tape. The suspect is considered armed and dangerous. Do not attempt to contact the suspect but call police immediately. Anyone with information is urged to call the Henderson Police Department at 702-267-4911, to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.
Sunset Park Homicide (update 2)
LVMPD gives update about suspect in homicide at Sunset Park (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide (update)
Update from LVMPD on Sunset Park homicide. Releasing suspect's name (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide
Police give details about Sunset Park homicide on Sunday, April 15, 2018. (Blake Apgar)
Security guard thwarts mailbox vandals
A security guard at the Covington at Coronado Ranch apartment complex ended up in the hospital after thwarting a group of mailbox vandals on Monday morning. According to Las Vegas police, about 12:45 a.m. the guard saw a group of people trying to break into mailboxes at the central Las Vegas complex when he confronted them. The group jumped into a vehicle and while trying to flee, struck the guard. The guard was hospitalized with injures that were not life-threatening. The suspects fled and remain at-large.
Las Vegas police looking for robbery suspects
Authorities are looking for three men who police said used a weapon on their victims in a recent string of robberies across the Las Vegas Valley. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas police looking for robbery suspects
Authorities are looking for three men who police said used a weapon on their victims in a recent string of robberies across the Las Vegas Valley. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Metro investigates an officer-involved shooting in east Las Vegas
Las Vegas police investigate an officer-involved shooting at Madge Lane and Mabel Road, between Charleston Boulevard and Stewart Avenue, Friday, April 6, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Robbery Surveillance Video
Police are searching for a man suspected of robbing two Las Vegas clothing stores in one week.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like