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Prosecutors want death penalty in killings of Las Vegas tourists

Prosecutors announced Thursday that they plan to seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing two Vietnamese tourists in a Strip hotel room.

Julius Trotter, 31, was indicted Thursday on two counts of murder, two counts of robbery and one count of burglary in the June 1 killings of 38-year-old Sang Boi Nghia and 30-year-old Khuong Ba Le Nguyen, who were part of a tour group visiting Las Vegas.

Prosecutors said authorities found credit cards and other items belonging to the two with Trotter when he was arrested in California days after the killings.

After a brief court hearing Thursday, both the prosecutor and Trotter’s attorney, Tom Ericsson, declined to comment on the decision to seek capital punishment.

After the tourists were found dead in their Circus Circus room, hotel engineers tested the door’s latch plate and determined it was broken, according to a Metropolitan Police Department arrest warrant. The engineers ran several tests and found the door wouldn’t “properly” close on its own, the report said, indicating that the door could have easily been pushed open.

Police have said the killer walked from door to door to see which were open and that there were no signs of forced entry into the tourists’ room inside the hotel, 2880 Las Vegas Boulevard South.

Prosecutors said Trotter was spotted on hotel security footage in the early morning carrying one of the victims’ backpacks, before meeting with a woman and later checking into a room at the Palms, 4321 W. Flamingo Road.

Trotter used a player’s card in his name, and officers matched a previous booking photo and Palms security video to the man they saw on the Circus Circus footage, authorities have said.

The mother of Trotter’s child, Itaska Dean, told a grand jury last month that she was visiting him for his birthday in May, and they had stayed in Las Vegas through June 2.

She fell asleep in their room at Circus Circus on the morning of June 1, and he returned with a black backpack containing Louis Vuitton wallets and cash that she had not seen before, according to her testimony.

The two were arrested days later while she was driving with him in California. As they were pulled over by marked police cars, she said she was confused.

“I asked again what’s going on,” she testified. “And he said, ‘I may be going to jail for murder.’”

Trotter previously was convicted of resisting an officer with a deadly weapon after a Jan. 14, 2017, traffic stop, court records show. He drove away from a traffic stop and dragged an officer 75 feet, according to a separate arrest warrant.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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