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Murder charges filed against man involved in fatal casino fight

Updated October 14, 2021 - 1:16 pm

A Las Vegas man has been charged with murder after police said he fatally punched a man inside the lobby of The Strat.

Surveillance footage from The Strat showed Michael Saunders punching a man at the check-in line on Aug. 27, according to an arrest report from the Metropolitan Police Department released Wednesday.

Saunders told police he heard his fiancee say “stop touching me” and “get away from me” to the man behind her. Saunders then ran toward where she was standing in line and punched the man behind her without saying a word, the report stated.

The victim, identified in the report as Thach Nguyen of Springfield, Virginia, suffered a severe brain bleed. The 73-year-old died on Sept. 8 of blunt force head trauma, the Clark County coroner’s office said. His death was ruled a homicide.

Court records show that Saunders was arrested Aug. 27 and his charge was upgraded from battery to murder on Aug. 31.

Saunders has a prior conviction in Las Vegas Justice Court for domestic battery in 2008, according to court records.

He was convicted of burglary, kidnapping and robbery in 2013 in a separate case and sentenced to eight to 20 years behind bars.

He is being held without bail on the murder charge and was scheduled for a court hearing on Tuesday.

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

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