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Suspects in fatal Henderson shooting make court appearance

The three suspects in a deadly drug-related shooting last month in a Henderson neighborhood appeared in court together for the first time Wednesday morning.

The trio — Joseph DeFrancisco, 22; Tahj Simeus, 16; and Josue Giovanni Turcios, 17 — entered the courtroom shackled and wearing blue jail jumpsuits. While waiting for their case to be called, DeFrancisco gazed at a wall, tears rolling down his face.

They face charges of open murder, attempted murder, attempted robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery in the May 31 killing of 20-year-old Antoine Daejuan Young Jr.

Henderson Justice of the Peace Sam Bateman on Wednesday denied the suspects bail, and they will remain in custody at the Clark County Detention Center awaiting their preliminary hearing on July 22.

Police have characterized the killing as a “dope rip,” or an armed narcotics robbery.

Young, accompanied by a friend, drove to the 300 block of Bright Sumac Court that day in May to sell a quarter-pound of marijuana to the three, according to the trio’s arrest report.

When Young and his friend arrived in the neighborhood, DeFrancisco entered the back seat of his Acura, and almost immediately another one of the suspects shot at least twice into the driver’s side window, striking both Young and his friend, who was sitting in the front passenger side, according to the report.

It is not clear who police suspect opened fire, as both Simeus’ and Turcios’ names are redacted in the arrest report. The Henderson Justice Court on Wednesday declined to release an unredacted version of the report, citing their ages, even though the two have been charged as adults in the case.

Young was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound to his left arm and chest in the driver’s seat of his Acura.

His friend, whose name is redacted in the report, was taken to a hospital for treatment. His condition was not known Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the three suspects ran toward Red Eucalyptus Drive, at which point DeFrancisco realized that one of the other suspects, who collapsed on the street and dropped the gun, had been shot in the right upper chest.

According to the report, DeFrancisco stayed behind with the injured suspect while the third suspect hid the weapon — a black 9 mm handgun — inside a hallway closet before fleeing. The gun was later found during a search of the home by Henderson police.

Both DeFrancisco and the injured suspect were taken into custody at the scene, and the third suspect was later arrested at his family’s home less than 2 miles from the scene of the shooting.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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