weather icon Clear

Triple murder suspect told police he lived with bodies for days

A man suspected of a triple homicide told police he killed his grandmother and her boyfriend days before their bodies were found in a Las Vegas apartment Tuesday.

Spencer McDonald, 30, confessed to the slayings of Dina Vail, 80; Andrew Graden, 43; and Christopher Brassard, 45, but did not provide a specific reason for killing them, according to an arrest report by the Metropolitan Police Department.

He told police he was living with the bodies in the apartment and on Tuesday morning stabbed a maintenance worker to death and injured another man when they entered the unit for a welfare check.

Police arrived at the apartment complex at 9105 Flamingo Road after several people called just after 9 a.m. from inside the leasing office about “a white male adult armed with a large pipe attacking people.”

McDonald told police that in the early morning hours “a couple of days prior” to the discovery of the bodies Tuesday, “he killed Dina by bludgeoning and stabbing her while she was in bed,” police homicide detectives stated in an arrest report.

“Andrew was not at home at the time he (Spencer) killed Dina,” the detectives wrote. “After killing Dina, Spencer waited in the living room for Andrew to return to the apartment.”

Once Graden returned and entered the apartment, McDonald said he bludgeoned and stabbed him in the living room and dragged his body into the master bedroom with Dina’s body, based on the arrest report.

“Spencer lived in the apartment for several days and went about his normal activities,” police said. “He said he did not get around to disposing of the bodies.”

When Brassard and the second maintenance worker, who was not named in the report, came into the unit for the welfare check, “Spencer admitted to stabbing Chris several times,” detectives wrote.

An unidentified male interviewed by police said he was acquainted with Vail since about 2018 or 2019. When she started to teach ballet classes at his dance studio, they became close friends and he routinely drove her to the studio and medical appointments while she lived at the apartment complex.

He told police he arrived at the complex to pick her up at about 6:15 p.m. Monday, saw a package outside her unit, knocked on the door several times, received no answer, and left, figuring she had gotten a ride by someone else. Later, he found out Vail failed to show for a scheduled class.

The man said he sent messages to Vail, Graden, McDonald and a male family member but none of them answered, police reported.

Then on Tuesday, the family member returned his message, telling him that McDonald had told him that Vail “took the day off,” but neither the family member nor Vail’s friend had heard from Vail.

The friend then went to Vail’s apartment complex office to ask for a welfare check and was informed that a maintenance worker was going to make the check.

“Minutes later, (the friend) saw the maintenance employee fleeing the apartment, bleeding,” he told police, and then he viewed “Spencer leaving the apartment with a backpack and witnesses him being taken into custody by officers.”

Vail’s friend last saw the woman on June 2 and last communicated with her, by text message, on June 23.

Another witness, a male maintenance worker whose name was redacted in the police report, told detectives that a male had approached him and said a co-worker of his had not been to work, which was out of the ordinary, and so the worker and Brassard went to Vail’s apartment and used a master key to open the door.

Once in the unit, he said he saw a piece of cardboard on the floor covering what looked like blood and “then saw what he believed to be blood on the walls,” detectives reported.

The worker then witnessed a male come out of a spare bedroom “holding a hammer” and recognized the person as Vail’s grandson, Spencer, who then ran toward Brassard and him.

They both turned to try to escape the apartment and the worker said he “saw Spencer swing the hammer at Chris and heard Chris cry out in pain,” the report stated.

The second maintenance worker was hit by the hammer in his back but was able to flee the apartment, only to return soon after to retrieve his cellphone that he had dropped, saw Brassard lying dead inside and then police officers arresting McDonald, based on the report.

Detectives recovered a large chef’s knife and a sword, both of which were bloodied, from the crime scene, police said.

When McDonald was arrested, they found him armed with “a large bludgeoning device known as a ‘mace,’ ” the report stated.

Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0382. Follow @JeffBurbank2 on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.