Updated July 11, 2020 - 4:15 pm
Three homicides investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department this year have gone unpublicized: the fatal stabbing of a 53-year-old, the body of a 52-year-old found in a desert lot, and the killing of a 50-year-old that police said was self-defense.
Two of the cases are being counted in the department’s official homicide tally, while the self-defense case is counted by the department as a “justifiable homicide” and is not included in the total, according to homicide Lt. Ray Spencer.
The department, which also does not include police killings in its official homicide total, recorded 38 killings during the first six months of 2020, one fewer than the number Metro recorded during the same time last year. The Review-Journal, which includes self-defense homicides and police killings that are ruled homicides by the Clark County coroner’s office, counted 61 homicides investigated by Metro from January to June, nine more than the newspaper recorded in the first half of 2019.
The first of the three unreported homicides happened March 28, Spencer said in an email Tuesday. Officers were called to a report of a family disturbance about 11:50 p.m. to a home on the 3700 block of Bonanza Road, east of Pecos Road, according to police dispatch logs.
Spencer said police were called after a man was “battering his girlfriend,” and another family member intervened and put the man in a chokehold.
The man, identified by the coroner’s office as Leroy Tupulua, 50, died at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. His death was ruled a homicide due to methamphetamine and ethanol intoxication, with other significant conditions of positional asphyxia with blunt force injuries, and heart disease, the coroner’s office said.
The case is being reviewed by the Clark County district attorney’s office for possible self-defense, Spencer said.
Just after midnight on May 28, police received a report of a bleeding man near the Harbor Island Apartments, 370 E. Harmon Ave. The man told police that his girlfriend of 10 years stabbed him in the leg in their tent, where the two were staying in a drainage tunnel near the apartments, according to an arrest report.
Police followed bloody footprints into the tunnel, where they found 42-year-old Cara Halpin sleeping near a tent. When Halpin stood up, a folding knife fell from her lap, and she had blood on her pajama pants, the report said.
Halpin told police that her boyfriend was punching her, then “changed her story” and said he shoved her. Medical staff did not find any injuries “consistent with what she had told officers at the scene,” the report said.
“As we were leaving the hospital room, Halpin told (a detective) ‘I was just trying to get him away from me.’ ”
Halpin’s boyfriend, identified by the Clark County coroner’s office as Wesley Dardenne, 53, was hospitalized in critical condition. He died at a rehabilitation center on June 6, nine days after he was allegedly stabbed, the coroner’s office said.
The coroner’s office had not determined Dardenne’s cause and manner of death as of Friday.
Halpin has been charged with murder and domestic battery with a deadly weapon resulting in significant bodily harm. She remained in the Clark County Detention Center on Wednesday with $5,000 bail, and a preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 18, court records show.
The final unpublicized homicide happened May 31, when police were called about 10:50 a.m. to a desert lot at Searles Avenue and 23rd Street, near Eastern and Washington avenues, according to Metro dispatch logs. When officers arrived, they found a man’s body in a desert lot, Spencer said.
He was identified by the Clark County coroner’s office as Mahadi Alrekaby, 52. His death was ruled a homicide due to head and neck trauma, the coroner’s office said.
Police had not arrested anyone in Alrekaby’s killing as of Thursday. During an interview on Tuesday, Spencer said Alrekaby was probably killed during a fight.