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Woman tied to suspects in model’s death cuts deal with prosecutors

Updated February 17, 2020 - 12:01 pm

A woman with ties to the suspects in the slaying of a 24-year-old Las Vegas model whose body was found encased in cement has pleaded guilty, court records show.

Lisa Mort, the 32-year-old girlfriend of a man charged with murder in Esmeralda Gonzalez’s slaying, cut a deal with prosecutors last week and pleaded guilty to accessory to murder.

While jailed on unrelated drug charges, Mort reportedly tried to warn Christopher Prestipino that Las Vegas homicide detectives were investigating Gonzalez’s death.

When detectives initially questioned Mort about Gonzalez’s disappearance last year, Mort denied knowing anything about the woman at the time. But prosecutors said she then called Prestipino and told him, “I just got some visitors. Go, baby, go. That’s all I can say.”

Prestipino was arrested in connection with the slaying after he returned from a trip to Belize, according to court records.

In exchange for Mort’s plea, prosecutors agreed to drop the drug charges against her. Mort’s lawyer could not be reached Monday.

Prosecutors said last month that Prestipino tried to contact Mort while he was out of custody and she was in jail, despite court orders prohibiting contact between the two.

In court papers, prosecutors detailed a Jan. 17 phone call in which Prestipino told another inmate at the jail that he had sold his house, and that if “it can get her off … she can testify against me or do whatever she needs to do. I don’t care. Tell her to do whatever it will take, but that they want the no-contact order dropped and that the drug charges will be wiped off her record.”

Two days later, jail recording devices captured a direct conversation between Prestipino and Mort.

Prestipino said he had placed money in Mort’s jail account and tried to send her a marriage certificate, but his lawyer stopped him.

Prestipino, 46, and his roommate Casandra Garrett, 39, face murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges. The two took extensive measures to hide the woman’s body after Prestipino strangled her and injected her with pool cleaner, according to court papers.

Gonzalez lived about one-tenth of a mile from Prestipino’s home at 9051 Iron Cactus Ave. Her brother reported her missing May 31.

In the predawn hours of May 31, the woman was captured on residential surveillance video wandering on the 9000 block of West Torino Avenue, less than two-tenths of a mile from Prestipino’s home.

Gonzalez’s body was found Oct. 8 in a desert area west of Interstate 15 and Hidden Valley Road in Moapa, according to the Clark County coroner’s office, which could not ultimately determine her cause of death. Garrett and Prestipino await trial.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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