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Man on probation in 2 separate cases now facing murder charge

Updated February 15, 2023 - 11:30 am

A man on probation for attempted battery and harassment was arrested in connection with a fatal stabbing after a hotel employee recognized him, according to an arrest report released Wednesday.

Justin Bell was booked on a warrant Monday and charged with one count of murder in connection with the death of David Cary, 63, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Cary, a musician who performed on Fremont Street and the Las Vegas Strip, was at a bus stop at South Nellis Boulevard and Boulder Highway on Jan. 15 when he was fatally stabbed by another man, according to police and the man’s daughter Vanessa Cary.

“It doesn’t bring my dad back but at least he’s getting justice,” Vanessa Cary said in a message after Bell was arrested.

Bell, 27, was identified by a Travelodge employee who called police on Jan. 22 to say Bell checked into the hotel, according to the arrest report. The employee said he recognized Bell from photos police released, and a manager at the hotel on Koval Lane told police Bell regularly stayed with them.

The hotel workers gave police Bell’s name, phone number and email. Officers watched the footage of Bell checking in on Jan. 18 and checking out on Jan. 20 with a trash bag full of his belongings.

A witness to the killing told police the man was yelling at people about his mother’s stolen phone and hit Cary in the head with a rock before stabbing him.

“(The witness) believed the suspect appeared to be on drugs because he was extremely agitated,” police wrote in the report.

Bell, 27, has a rap sheet in Clark County District Court dating back to 2014, when he pleaded guilty to burglary. District Judge Michelle Leavitt sentenced Bell to a maximum of five years of probation, but court records show he pleaded guilty to burglary again two years later.

In 2016, District Judge Stefany Miley sentenced him to at least a year in prison.

District Judge Monica Trujillo sentenced Bell to two years of probation in September after he pleaded guilty to attempted battery with substantial bodily harm. He was prohibited from using drugs and required to work with Hope for Prisoners, a nonprofit that helps residents rebuild their lives after prison.

Trujillo ordered Bell to comply with a curfew and undergo a mental health evaluation. Eight days after the stabbing, court records show Bell was not present in court when a public defender requested he be allowed to use medical marijuana while on probation.

Trujillo denied the motion.

Las Vegas Justice Court records indicate Bell was charged with attempted home invasion and destroying property, but in October the Clark County district attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case.

Bell pleaded guilty in Justice Court to harassment on Dec. 5. Justice of the Peace Joseph Sciscento gave him a suspended jail sentence, and instead ordered him to stay out of trouble for six months and complete impulse control classes.

Bell is being held without bail and expected to appear in court again on March 15 on the murder charge.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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