Updated August 3, 2020 - 12:22 pm
Prosecutors want Adolfo Orozco, the landlord of a downtown Las Vegas apartment building where six people died in a fire in December, held on $1 million bail.
In court Monday, Chief Deputy District Attorney John Giordani asked a judge to order Orozco, who faces involuntary manslaughter charges, to surrender his passport, citing “substantial ties” to other states and Mexico.
Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Ann Zimmerman said she would make a decision Tuesday on whether Orozco and his co-defendant, Malinda Mier, should be jailed.
Orozco, 44, said he owns homes in Napa, California, and Las Vegas, where he has lived since 2013. He said he rented out seven houses and two four-unit apartment buildings.
“I’m worried that his tenants aren’t safe with the way he manages his properties,” Zimmerman said. “His tenants need to be safe.”
Along with one count of manslaughter for each of the six victims, Orozco and Mier also face 15 counts of performance of an act or neglect of duty in disregard of safety resulting in substantial bodily harm or death. Orozco also faces four counts of preventing or dissuading witness or victim from reporting crime or commencing prosecution with use of a deadly weapon. All charges are felonies.
Orozco’s lawyer, Paola Armeni, told the judge that Orozco, who is married with three children, has kept in contact with prosecutors since the December fire and asked for him to remain free on his own recognizance.
Armeni suggested that the former live-in manager of the Alpine Motel Apartments, Jason Casteel, was culpable for the deaths.
“He should probably be standing on this side of the table,” Armeni said.
Prosecutors have said that once an investigation into the Dec. 21 fire began, Orozco threatened the apartment’s manager and his fiancee and tried to persuade them not to talk to detectives “by brandishing a modified AK-47 style assault rifle and offering money” for them to leave town.
While Mier, 40, did not have an ownership stake in the Alpine apartments, she ran a property management company for Orozco, according to her lawyer, Kristina Wildeveld.
“She cares deeply about the people who lived at the Alpine Motel, as she does about the people who live at all the properties Mr. Orozco owns,” Wildeveld said.
Mier delivered a “sworn statement under oath” in an email to reporters last week. In it, she accepted responsibility for not performing daily inspections of the property before the fire, while saying that fire department and alarm company should also be held liable.
“I, Malinda Mier, am taking full responsibility for the management negligence leading up to and the date of the ALPINE MOTEL FIRE,” the statement read. “Unfortunately, other people and factors may have contributed to this tragedy, but at the end of the day leaders admit accountability and responsibility. I TAKE full ownership for the EVENTS AND Alleged Negligence. … I, Malinda Mier, am saying once again I accept full ownership and 100% responsibility for any management errors I may have made within the time span leading up to and the day of THE ALPINE MOTEL TRAGIC FIRE! Where I come from accepting responsibility earns you respect.”
An investigation into the deadly fire, which also left 13 injured and dozens displaced, found more than 40 potential fire code violations, including a rear exit door that had been bolted shut.