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Las Vegas man dies after being punched by burglary suspect

Updated November 1, 2019 - 4:36 pm

In a previously unpublicized killing, a 55-year-old Las Vegas man was fatally punched in the head in September after encountering a suspected car burglar in his driveway, the Review-Journal has learned.

When the victim, Ruben Montoya-Acevedo, fell to the ground that Sept. 12 morning, slamming his head on the driveway, the suspect allegedly emptied his pockets and wallet.

But the suspect, identified by Las Vegas police as 19-year-old Yacquan Jamaira Ham, was interrupted by the victim’s wife, who had come outside to check on all the commotion, according to Ham’s arrest report.

Ham, still standing over Montoya-Acevedo’s body, pretended to be a concerned bystander and yelled for the woman to call 911, the report said. The suspect had even stayed with the woman until Metropolitan Police Department officers arrived at the home on the 3500 block of Huerta Drive, later providing the officers a fake name and date of birth. But, the report said, when the officers began asking questions, Ham took off running.

Meanwhile, Montoya-Acevedo was rushed to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center with a fractured skull and a brain bleed. He died the next afternoon at the hospital of blunt force head injuries, according to the Clark County coroner’s office, marking the 73rd homicide investigated this year by Metro.

It was not clear why Metro did not release details of the fatal attack at the time, but, homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said Friday that Montoya-Acevedo encountered Ham shortly after 6 a.m. in his neighborhood near East Desert Inn Road and South Nellis Boulevard. Investigators later learned that Ham had apparently broken into several vehicles in the neighborhood before the encounter.

Ham was taken into custody not far from the Huerta Drive home, and officers found about $400 in cash on him — some of the bills stained with blood, the report said.

Montoya-Acevedo’s wife told police she had recently given him $100 in cash, and that her husband had recently cashed a Social Security check.

Records show that Ham has remained jailed on $300,000 bail at the Clark County Detention Center since his arrest. He was indicted Sept. 30 in Clark County District Court on charges of murder, robbery, battery and battery to commit a robbery, and his jury trial has been set for June, according to court records.

At the time of attack, the records show, Ham had been out on probation in a 2017 robbery case. He was sentenced in September last year to two years in a Nevada prison but was granted probation on the condition that he maintained a job and stayed out of trouble.

The robbery case was reactivated in District Court following his arrest on the murder charge.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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