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Suspect in tunnel killing waives right to preliminary hearing

A woman accused of fatally stabbing a man last year in a central Las Vegas drainage tunnel was ordered held without bail Wednesday after she waived her right to a preliminary hearing.

That means the murder case against Joanne Debernardo now moves onto the Clark County District Court docket while the 52-year-old suspect awaits trial.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joseph Sciscento asked the defendant if she understood what it meant to waive her right to the hearing — at which the judge would evaluate whether there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

“Yes, sir. I have a comprehensive understanding with the matter at hand, and I’ve taken the advice of counsel that’s in my best interest,” said Debernardo, who was shackled and donning dark blue jail garb.

On Nov. 6, Las Vegas police arrested Debernardo on a count of murder.

She is accused of killing Joseph Daniels, 52, on July 7, 2020, in a tunnel near Industrial Road and Western Avenue. She is being held in the Clark County Detention Center.

The victim, who used the alias “Twilight,” died from wounds to his head and neck, the Clark County coroner’s office ruled.

Detectives spoke to three witnesses who identified Debernardo as the suspect, and two of them said they heard her say before the killing: “Tell me who sinned. I’ll take care of it because I’m coming of age tonight.”

Witnesses told police that they saw Debernardo straddling and stabbing Daniels inside his tent the morning he died.

“How does that feel Twilight?” she said, according to her arrest report. “Now somebody is finally beating on you.”

Sciscento told Debernardo that she was next due in court on Dec. 1.

“Thank you, your honor,” she responded. “Have a nice holiday, sir.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.

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