A Clark County judge on Wednesday denied a 53-year-old woman’s request to withdraw a guilty plea in the killing of a 10-year-old girl and slashing of a Bellagio blackjack dealer.
The family of Jade Morris whispered “yes” as District Judge Kathleen Delaney ruled that Brenda Stokes Wilson was not coerced into a deal with prosecutors.
In January, Stokes Wilson agreed to a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole on a count of first-degree murder. She was also ordered to serve an additional 51 years for attempted murder, first-degree kidnapping, burglary and mayhem, along with deadly weapons enhancements.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Robert Daskas said Stokes Wilson agreed to the maximum sentence on each charge she faced and those sentences must run consecutive to one another, meaning the time must be served separately.
Even if a jury had handed down a death sentence for murder at a trial, because of the possibility of unlimited appeals, Stokes Wilson likely would have died of natural causes before an execution.
Delaney set a sentencing date for next month.
Jade’s body was found in late December 2012 in a desert area of an undeveloped North Las Vegas neighborhood near Deer Springs Way and North Fifth Street by a person walking a dog.
A little more than 4 feet tall and weighing 102 pounds, Jade suffered 40 sharp-force wounds across her body from a large knife, according to a medical examiner. Some of her injuries — the most serious on her head, chest and abdomen — were so severe that she was likely unconscious within minutes.
Stokes Wilson had picked up the girl from Jade’s mother, Tejuana Reeves’ home at 4:50 p.m. on Dec. 21, 2012, saying they were going Christmas shopping. Stokes Wilson was engaged to Jade’s father, Philip Morris, and had a close relationship with the girl for several years.
Jade was wearing blue jeans, a blue “My Little Pony” T-shirt with a white shirt underneath, black shoes and a brown coat the last time her mother saw her.
Stokes Wilson said she would return the girl before 9 p.m. By 10 p.m., Reeves was very concerned because the girl has not been returned. She called Stokes Wilson’s phone every hour through the night and sent repeated text messages.
In the morning, she phoned hospitals and went to the police station to file a missing person’s report.
The same night Stokes Wilson kidnapped the girl, authorities say, she approached a Bellagio blackjack table and began slashing the face of a dealer, 44-year-old Joyce Rhone. Stokes Wilson mistakenly believed Rhone had started dating Jade’s father.
Rhone told a grand jury that she suffered cuts to her forehead and right side of her face.
She tried to kick Stokes Wilson away during the attack.
As she slashed Rhone’s face with a razor, Stokes Wilson only said, “Why did you do that?”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Contact David Ferrara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker