A Las Vegas woman was sentenced to at least three years in prison on Tuesday for fatally shooting another woman when she was confronted about giving the woman’s kids a ride to school.
“She loved her kids; she died protecting her children,” Gary Chase, the father of Jamie Chase, said Tuesday after he watched a judge sentence the woman who killed his daughter.
Lahela Kaiwi-Brewer, 28, pleaded guilty in June to a felony charge of voluntary manslaughter with a deadly weapon for fatally shooting Jamie Chase nearly a year ago, on Sept. 23.
Chase and her boyfriend had driven to the other woman’s home to confront her after learning her children had accepted a ride to school from the Kaiwi-Brewer, who lived with her children’s father, according to court documents.
Kaiwi-Brewer told police that Chase yelled at her and walked into her home before pushing Kaiwi-Brewer. When Chase left the house, Kaiwi-Brewer grabbed her gun and followed her outside, yelling at Chase not to come onto the property again.
Kaiwi-Brewer’s dogs then ran outside and jumped into Chase’s car, and Kaiwi-Brewer approached the car to try to get her dogs, she told police.
She claimed that Chase pushed her again, and the gun went off during the confrontation. During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Kaiwi-Brewer said she does not remember pulling the trigger and that she was threatened by Chase.
“If I was able to take back my actions, I absolutely would; I never intended to shoot her,” said Kaiwi-Brewer, who cried throughout the hearing.
Kaiwi-Brewer’s defense attorney, Ryan Helmick, argued that the shooting was accidental. Helmick set up three cardboard figures to demonstrate Kaiwi-Brewer was relatively shorter than the two who confronted her.
But District Judge Jacqueline Bluth questioned why Kaiwi-Brewer brought a gun outside and cocked it in the first place. Bluth said if the case had gone to trial, she didn’t see how attorneys would be able to convince 12 jurors of Kaiwi-Brewer’s guilt or innocence.
“This is difficult,” she said. “I can’t see completely clearly what the just punishment is.”
Helmick also said a witness saw Chase choke Kaiwi-Brewer outside of the home, but Deputy District Attorney Julia Barker argued that the witness only told police that Chase grabbed the other woman’s shoulders.
Barker argued that Kaiwi-Brewer’s reactions to Chase showed that she was a danger to the community, and that she should not be granted probation.
“All of this happened because of what the defendant did,” Barker said. “And so at this point, there needs to be some kind of accountability, and that accountability should be prison.”
Bluth agreed that prison was an appropriate sentence for Kaiwi-Brewer and ordered her to serve between three and eight years behind bars.
Chase’s family members said they wished Kaiwi-Brewer received more time in prison, but they were happy she was not placed on probation. Chase’s five children, who range in age from 5 to 14, are now being raised by their grandparents and great-aunt and great-uncle. Her family members carried photos of the children’s faces to show the judge on Tuesday.
Gary Chase said he would tell the children that “justice was served.”
“In my opinion, we won,” he said.
Contact Katelyn Newberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0240.