A third defendant in the death of a 24-year-old model faced a Las Vegas judge Wednesday on murder and kidnapping charges.
Casandra Garrett, 40, was extradited from Wisconsin in connection with the slaying of Esmeralda Gonzalez, who was last seen alive in late May.
Authorities suspect Garrett — also known as Casandra Winn, Casandra Bascones, Casandra Tran and Nikki Hart — participated in the killing with her roommate, 46-year-old Christopher Prestipino. Both face charges of conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree kidnapping and murder.
Held without bail
Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure ordered Garrett held without bail until she is appointed an attorney.
Prestipino, who has posted $500,000 bail through a bail bond company, remained in the Clark County Detention Center as of Wednesday morning. In a separate hearing, District Judge Douglas Herndon confirmed that Prestipino should be released on house arrest while he awaits trial.
Court documents allege that Prestipino and Garrett killed Gonzalez “with a poisonous substance and/or by strangulation.”
Gonzalez, who worked in the adult entertainment industry and had more than 300,000 followers on Instagram, lived about one-tenth of a mile from Prestipino.
Extensive measures to hide body
Prosecutors have written in court papers that Prestipino took extensive measures to hide Gonzalez’s body after he strangled her and injected her with pool cleaner.
When Las Vegas homicide detectives questioned Garrett in Milwaukee, she was “defensive, argumentative and denied any knowledge” of Gonzalez’s disappearance, court documents said.
Gonzalez was captured on residential surveillance video in late May trying to open the door to a home in the 9000 block of West Torino Avenue, less than two-tenths of a mile from Prestipino’s home.
Prosecutors have alleged that Gonzalez was at Garrett and Prestipino’s residence in the 9000 block of Iron Cactus Avenue, and that Gonzalez was tied up before she was killed.
Prestipino’s 31-year-old girlfriend, Lisa Mort, another alleged co-conspirator, faces a charge of harboring, concealing or aiding a felon.
Both Garrett and Prestipino are due back in court Thursday.