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‘You are afraid of me’: Records unsealed in case tied to Summerlin law office shooting

Updated April 19, 2024 - 5:05 pm

A judge on Friday granted the Las Vegas Review-Journal access to hundreds of documents and an assemblage of videos from a contentious custody battle linked to a shooting that left three dead in a Summerlin law office.

The records include vulgar messages from Las Vegas attorney Dylan Houston and a handwritten letter from his mother penned after he filed for divorce from his wife, Ashley, who was shot and killed with Dennis Prince, her attorney and new husband.

After the killings, Family Court Judge Bill Henderson signed an order allowing the news organization to review the records, saying that judicial proceedings should be open to the public.

“Courts have recognized that motions to intervene are procedurally proper when the public or press seeks to intervene for the limited purpose of accessing court proceedings or court documents,” the order states. “Accordingly, the Review-Journal is permitted to intervene for the purpose of seeking access to court records and proceedings. The Review-Journal has First Amendment and common law rights of contemporaneous access to court records and proceedings in this matter.”

After shooting 30-year-old Ashley Prince and 57-year-old Dennis Prince, 77-year-old Joseph Houston II, Dylan Houston’s father, turned the gun on himself at the start of a deposition on April 8 inside the offices of Prince Law Group, located on the fifth floor of the City National Bank Building at 10801 W. Charleston Blvd.

Joseph Houston, also an attorney, was representing his son in the case.

Lawyer Gerald Hardcastle, who now represents Dylan Houston, could not be reached for comment on Friday afternoon.

In court filings, the former couple and their lawyers disputed nearly every aspect of their custody arrangement, from the location of child exchanges and payment of attorneys fees, to alcohol monitoring and confrontations at soccer games and school events.

Hundreds of hours of videos included in the file reveal contentious hearings in which both sides frequently talked over one another and the judge.

Video showed attorneys arguing over Dylan Houston’s alleged substance abuse. During a hearing in November, attorney John Jones, who represented Ashley Prince, said Dylan Houston “can’t even control his behavior in the courtroom.”

Joseph Houston argued that Dylan Houston had been clean for months, and that he was never intoxicated with the children.

Throughout the case, Ashley Prince and her lawyers accused Dylan Houston of a pattern of threatening behavior, while he accused his ex-wife of vindictive tactics and an unwillingness to co-parent with him, records show.

In June, Henderson set another order dictating behavioral expectations for the case, including banning communication between Ashley Prince and Dylan Houston, and setting limits on when he could drink. The order came after Ashley Prince accused her ex-husband of intentionally lying to the court.

“It is further ordered that anyone who alleges contempt as to a behavioral order issue shall make sure their own behavior is beyond reproach,” the judge wrote in the order.

Daniel Hooge, bar counsel for the State Bar of Nevada, confirmed Friday that there are no active grievances against Dylan Houston, who has no disciplinary history listed on the bar’s website.

Documents from the custody battle also reveal that in December, Joseph Houston agreed not to be present during child exchanges. Ashley Prince had filed a motion for a neutral location for child exchanges, after describing an incident in which Joseph Houston was reportedly behaving bizarrely.

‘Glaring and wouldn’t move’

In email excerpts included in the filing, Dennis Prince accused Joseph Houston of standing outside Prince’s vehicle and staring at him, his son and his newborn.

“You stood in an imposing way simply glaring at me and wouldn’t move,” according to Dennis Prince’s email, in which he also accused Joseph Houston of being intoxicated.

In an emailed reply, Joseph Houston said Dennis Prince’s “interpretation of events and/or narrative is not accurate; nevertheless, since you are afraid of me, I will not be at any future exchanges with the children.”

During another contentious hearing on Wednesday, Henderson ordered Dylan Houston to turn over his guns to the Metropolitan Police Department in order to have custodial visits with his children, as homicide detectives investigate the killings.

Joseph Houston had prostate cancer, which was referenced in court documents as early as August, but he had learned that the cancer had returned just days before the shooting, a close colleague recently told the Review-Journal.

In the years since Dylan Houston filed for divorce in late 2021, attorneys for Ashley Prince filed documents alleging that Dylan Houston had a history of substance abuse, including multiple positive tests for cocaine.

‘Everyone is worried’

An undated letter from Katherine Houston to her son was included in documents filed the past week by Ashley Prince’s attorneys, who are now representing Ashley Prince’s sister in the custody dispute. In the letter, Katherine Houston expressed her sadness over the divorce.

“Everyone is worried about you,” she wrote. “We have been told you are a drug addict and alcoholic.”

The letter was referenced during a court hearing in November, when Ashley Prince’s attorney said he wanted to impeach Katherine Houston as a witness for her son. Jones said the letter showed that Katherine Houston believed her son had a substance abuse problem.

The shooting occurred during the start of a deposition at which Katherine Houston was to be questioned.

Dylan Houston filed paperwork in early March to terminate alcohol monitoring requirements, arguing that he did not drink when watching his children, and alleging that his ex-wife was harassing him by hiring a private investigator to follow him for six months.

Records show that Ashley Prince claimed her ex-husband violated the judge’s behavioral orders in hundreds of messages. In some written communication, Dylan Houston called her vulgar names and questioned her parenting.

“Move to Oregon and get euthanized,” one message read.

Another message, which has been referenced by Ashley Prince’s family since her death, read: “I don’t want to see you unless you’re in a casket.” The message was sent in “early 2022,” according to the filings.

The records were unsealed after the Review-Journal argued that a recent Nevada Supreme Court ruling affirmed that Family Court matters are presumed open to the public.

Ashley Prince was fighting for primary physical custody of her children, ages 5 and 4, since February, the records show. She also had an infant with Dennis Prince.

“There must be a sense of urgency on the cumulative impact of Dylan’s improper messaging and behavior,” her attorneys wrote in a document filed last month.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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