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Second murder suspect accuses Las Vegas police of misconduct

Updated August 17, 2017 - 9:01 pm

A second murder suspect in the killing of a 24-year-old nursing student is accusing Las Vegas police detectives of misconduct.

During a jailhouse interview Thursday, 22-year-old Davontae Wheeler told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that detectives continued to interrogate him about the killing after he asked for an attorney.

“I don’t even know why I’m here,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler insisted he knows only one of his three co-defendants and was at his sister’s house the morning nursing student Gabriel George Valenzuela was shot and killed in his driveway.

Metropolitan Police Department questioned Wheeler, he said, and he asked for a lawyer. Detectives then walked out of the room and returned with photos from a convenience store police said the four murder suspects visited before the deadly shooting.

They pressed him on whether he was one of the four spotted by security footage, Wheeler said. He denied he was and continued answering police questions, he said, if defiantly.

“We got into a full-blown argument,” he said.

The one suspect Wheeler said he knows, Demario Lofton-Robinson, had similar complaints about how Las Vegas police handled his interview.

Lofton-Robinson, 18, also said police continued to question him after he asked for an attorney. He spoke during a jailhouse interview Wednesday with the Review-Journal and said detectives coaxed a false confession from him.

Wheeler and Raekwon Robertson, 20, were arrested Tuesday and booked into the Clark County Detention Center. Lofton-Robinson and his 14-year-old brother were arrested the day after the Aug. 9 shooting death.

Each of the four defendants faces a murder charge and robbery-related counts in the homicide, police said.

When reached for comment Thursday evening, homicide Lt. Dan McGrath said all four interviews were recorded on audio and video. He said any misconduct would have been captured and would become part of the court process.

“We’ll let the facts speak for themselves,” he said.

Just after midnight on Aug. 9, Valenzuela pulled into the driveway at his central valley home on the 5500 block of West Dewey Drive. He checked the mail before getting into a confrontation with four young men, police said.

The College of Southern Nevada student was shot at least three times and died at a local hospital.

Attempts to reach Valenzuela’s friends and family for comment Thursday were unsuccessful.

Wheeler said he knew Lofton-Robinson as “DJ” and met him through Facebook while trying to buy a gun. They arranged to meet in a white car — he didn’t remember the exact date — where Wheeler planned to buy a gun from Lofton-Robinson. Wheeler said he later left the meeting because he thought he would be robbed.

He said he didn’t learn of the shooting until he saw it on the news a few days later.

It was this meeting and the messages leading to it, Wheeler said, that led police to link him to the homicide.

According to a police report, a jogger saw four young men in dark clothing standing in front of Valenzuela’s residence and “acting suspiciously.” That witness also saw an unoccupied white Mercury Grand Marquis.

The car description matched a vehicle in a surveillance video at a convenience store that showed four male occupants entering the store shortly before the killing, the report said. Police used that information to make the arrests.

“It’s crazy how they got (Lofton-Robinson), and then it comes to me,” Wheeler said.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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