Alexus Postorino’s death was collateral damage.
The 15-year-old Southwest Career and Technical Academy sophomore didn’t dabble in drug trafficking or other reckless activities, police have determined.
But her father did. And because of his lifestyle, he put Alexus’ life in danger, Las Vegas police Lt. Lew Roberts said.
"This should be a message to parents," he said at a news conference Tuesday. "Sometimes there are consequences for your behavior. And sometimes those consequences have collateral damage."
Police arrested Norman David Belcher, 36, on Monday night on charges of murder with a deadly weapon, robbery with a deadly weapon, burglary with a deadly weapon and attempted murder. He is accused of fatally shooting Alexus and wounding Nicholas Brabham, 31, who is in critical condition and considered unlikely to survive.
Police said Belcher was embroiled in a dispute with Alexus’ father, William Postorino, over a drug debt.
Belcher — who was paroled in June after serving time for a 2007 manslaughter conviction — thought Postorino owed him money and had sent him threatening text messages, according to an arrest report.
About 3 a.m. Monday, police say, Belcher broke into Postorino’s home at 9752 Villa Lorena Ave. intending to commit robbery and to leave no witnesses.
Police said he first confronted and shot Alexus, who was downstairs.
Brabham, Postorino’s roommate, was in bed with a woman upstairs. Hearing the noise, she hid in the closet while Brabham confronted Belcher, police said. The woman said she heard several gunshots, and then Brabham came into the closet and collapsed next to her. She escaped by jumping from a second-story window and hiding until the arrival of police who responded to her 911 call.
Police say Belcher took a 60-inch television, a laptop computer and a metal safe containing money before leaving.
Postorino was at a casino at the time of the attack. He arrived at the residence near Tropicana Avenue and Grand Canyon Drive in Spring Valley several hours later . Clark County court records show Postorino pleaded guilty in 2004 to trafficking controlled substances and was sentenced to 12 to 30 months in prison.
He originally was charged with trafficking and manufacturing methamphetamine. Police recovered nearly 40 pounds of the drug from Postorino’s residence at the time.
Postorino told police about the feud with Belcher and gave them his cell phone number, the report said.
A neighbor told police she heard a commotion outside her home and saw a man loading things into a white 2009 Nissan Versa, then speed off minutes before officers arrived.
Police initially were looking for two suspects but now say Belcher was alone.
The Nissan, which Belcher had rented, was found burning in a parking lot near Craig Road and Lamb Boulevard, not far from Belcher’s weekly apartment. They learned he had been stopped in the Nissan by a patrol officer near the scene of the shooting and had been given a traffic citation about 30 minutes after the home invasion.
Contacted at his apartment, Belcher denied receiving the citation and claimed to have been in a bar that morning. The keys for the burned Nissan were found in his possession, the report said.
Cell phone records indicated Belcher had made calls from the area where the rental car was found. The patrol officer who issued Belcher a citation identified him.
Belcher, who also goes by the name Norman Bates, has a lengthy criminal history in Las Vegas and has been in and out of prison.
Most recently, he was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced in 2007 to four to 10 years in prison, for which he was given routine credit for about two years already served, court records show.
Belcher was initially indicted by a grand jury in connection with the death of Al Deas, his drug-dealing partner in the southwest valley. Authorities said Belcher beat Deas to death with his fists and a can of hair spray after an argument over money and drugs in May 2003.
The charge was reduced after defense attorneys argued that Deas’ death was not clearly caused by the fight. The victim was high on methamphetamine.
Belcher entered an Alford plea, meaning he did not admit guilt but acknowledged prosecutors could win conviction.
In 2005, Belcher pleaded guilty to attempted possession of a stolen vehicle. Police found Belcher asleep in a stolen Ford F-250 pickup. When officers asked him to step out of the vehicle, Belcher rammed a police cruiser and led officers on a chase before crashing. No one was injured.
Belcher pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in 2003 for carrying 18.2 grams of methamphetamine and to conspiracy to commit battery, a gross misdemeanor, in 1993.
Tuesday afternoon, about 25 students at Southwest CTA wore black and had a memorial for Alexus after school.
Jordan Carter, 15, a sophomore at the school, said Alexus was in the school’s interior design program and was outgoing, with a "loud and very happy" personality.
Her friends were shocked, he said.
"Yesterday during lunch, we were like, ‘Dang, where is Alexus at? Last week, she was sick but she should be here today.’ We found out after school she was shot.
"At first, I didn’t believe it. When I saw it on the news, it was hard to believe," Carter said.
Cameron Rowland, 16, said Alexus "was a fun person. She usually brought friends together. She knew a lot of people."
Rowland said students were in a somber mood Tuesday.
"In all the classes I’ve had with her, it’s pretty much completely silent where normally it would be really loud and rambunctious."
Review-Journal reporters Francis McCabe and James Haug contributed to this report. Contact reporter Mike Blasky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0283.Police arrest man in deadly home invasion