A 35-year-old Henderson man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder and other charges in the death of a 65-year-old man in a suspected DUI crash last month.
Kevin Raspperry is accused of causing a seven-vehicle crash on Oct. 27 that killed Marcial Escobia and seriously injured his wife, Nimfa Escobia. He pleaded not guilty in District Court to charges of second-degree murder with a deadly weapon, DUI, four counts of DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm or death, four counts of reckless driving, and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.
Craig Mueller, Raspperry’s attorney, argued in court that the murder charge is an “improper allegation” for a DUI case.
“I don’t object to my colleagues occasionally trying to expand and change the direction of law,” Mueller said. “This magnitude of change, however, is utterly unsupported.”
Charging defendants with murder in DUI cases is not without precedent in Southern Nevada, but defense attorney John Watkins recently described it as a “new trend.”
“What the DA is doing is creating their own law,” said Watkins, who regularly defends DUI suspects, during an interview with the Review-Journal last week.
While standing outside the courtroom clutching a picture of his father, 35-year-old Nimar Escobia said his family members are leaning on their faith in the aftermath of the crash.
“We definitely have faith, trusting that justice will be served,” he said.
After seeing Raspperry in court sitting in a wheelchair, Nimar Escobia said that while Raspperry’s pain may be temporary, he has permanently affected their entire family. His mother is still recovering from the crash, he said.
“It’s not just the physical pain that she is going through, mentally and spiritually she is recovering day by day.”
Raspperry remained in the Clark County Detention Center on Tuesday with $100,000 bail, jail records show. A status check in the case is scheduled for Thursday.