weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Convicted killer tied to 2004 cold case homicide

Updated February 23, 2023 - 3:11 pm

A man convicted of three 2005 murders strangled a woman to death in 2004, police said Thursday.

Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Jason Johansson said DNA evidence linked 48-year-old Norman Flowers to the killing of Keysha Brown, 28.

In October 2004, Brown was found dead in a bathtub inside her apartment in the 700 block of East Flamingo Road.

An autopsy revealed Brown had been strangled to death, stabbed, beaten and sexually assaulted. Witnesses interviewed at the time provided a description of a possible suspect seen arriving and leaving the apartment, but that person was never identified, according to Johansson.

A review of Brown’s case in July by Det. Dan Long led to a request for additional DNA testing of evidence located on Brown during her autopsy. Long had been part of a 2005 murder investigation in which Flowers was the suspect.

Johansson said Brown’s murder was similar to three from 2005 in that there was a sexual aspect to the crime, a similarity in how the deaths occurred and in how the bodies were placed.

“All of those together made Det. Long instantly believe that he was working another murder involving Norman Flowers,” Johansson said.

As Johansson spoke during an afternoon press conference, members of Brown’s family stood behind him, wiping tears from their eyes. Brown’s daughter Khaliaah Brown briefly spoke through tears.

“I just want to say thank you to the police department,” she said.

Flowers in 2011 had entered an Alford plea for two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of 45-year-old Marilee Coote and 24-year-old Rena Gonzales.

An Alford plea means Flowers didn’t admit guilt but acknowledged prosecutors could prove their case against him. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to stipulate to two consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole. If Flowers had been convicted at trial, prosecutors were going to seek the death penalty, according to Review-Journal archives.

Coote was found dead inside her Russell Road apartment on May 3, 2005. She had been raped, strangled and Flowers’ DNA was discovered on her body, the archives show. 

Eight hours later, Gonzales was found dead in the same apartment complex. She had been strangled with a telephone cord.

In October 2008, Flowers was convicted and given a life sentence in the 2005 murder of 18-year-old Sheila Quarles, the daughter of Flowers’ former girlfriend. Quarles died in March 2005.

Flowers had previously spent time in prison, had been paroled twice and was out of prison for about 20 days when he killed Quarles.

“I would say by definition he does meet the definition of a serial killer,” Johansson said.

Las Vegas Justice Court records show that an arrest warrant was filed Thursday against Flowers on charges of sexual assault and open murder.

Flowers remains at High Desert State Prison where he is serving the three life sentences.

Earlier this month, Las Vegas police announced the closing of two other cold case homicides. Through DNA testing it was determined that Eddie George Snowden Jr., who died in 2017 at the age of 80, killed Lori Ann Perera, 31, and Pearl Wilson Ingram, 35, in separate instances in the 1990s.

Both women were sexually assaulted and strangled to death, according to police.

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @davidwilson_RJ on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Sabrina Schnur contributed to this report.


Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.