The boyfriend of a woman found dead from a gunshot wound to her neck this month told police she was the one who pulled the trigger.
So detectives decided to test that theory.
On July 17, Las Vegas police and the Clark County coroner’s office held the Remington Model 870 shotgun over 24-year-old Savannah Millner’s body at an angle that matched the stippling, or gunpowder tattooing, on her body, according to police documents released Monday.
They moved her hand to the “packaged” shotgun trigger well to figure out whether she would’ve been capable of pulling it on her own. They had their answer.
“It was determined there was no possible way the decedent could have manipulated the trigger based on where the stippling started on the chest and the angle of the penetrated wound to the neck,” a Metropolitan Police Department detective wrote in an arrest report.
Among multiple bruises across her body, investigators found marks on her face suggesting she was slapped and an abrasion just below her sternum “consistent with being struck with the butt of the shotgun,” the report said.
Clifford called in his girlfriend’s shooting the evening of July 15 at their Kensington Suites apartment, 2200 W. Bonanza Road. He told police the couple had been fighting all day and that he stepped out of the apartment, his arrest report said.
He told police he heard the gunshot while he walked away and ran back to find Millner suffering her wound on the floor. Blood spatter at the scene indicated she was shot while lying on the floor.
In an interview with police, Clifford said he loaded the shotgun with “low-lethal salt-loaded shells” for self-defense in “the neighborhood they lived in,” the report said. He said he and Millner watched a YouTube video together explaining how to load the rounds.
X-ray examinations of the rounds revealed the rounds from their apartment had no foreign substance while two of the three rounds recovered from the shotgun appeared to be salt rounds.
Investigators collected the shotgun, ammunition and unspecified evidence of cleanup, the report said.
Clifford was denied bail and has a status check scheduled for Tuesday morning, court records show. He does not have an attorney listed in court records.
The coroner’s office has not yet released Millner’s cause and manner of death.
Her death marks the 76th homicide investigation in the county and the 56th by Metro so far this year, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal records.