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Woman killed in New Year’s Eve parking lot robbery was Hawaii resident, man denies role

One of two men accused of killing two people in what Las Vegas police described as attempted robberies in casino parking garages on New Year’s Eve vehemently denied trying to rob or kill anyone.

In an interview from the Clark County Detention Center on Monday night, 20-year-old Jesani Carter said police arrested the “wrong person,” and repeatedly implored the public to research him, saying he was a “platinum” gambler at a Strip resort, wears outfits that cost thousands of dollars, and he did not have a need to steal from anyone.

“Add me up,” he said.

Gambling in Nevada is illegal for anyone under the age of 21.

He theorized that he would be released from jail after his appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court scheduled for Tuesday morning.

“We’re gonna be alright,” he said from a video monitor at the jail. “I’m gonna be free tomorrow.”

Carter and Jordan Ruby, 18, are accused of fatally wounding Clarice Yamaguchi, who was shot in a parking garage at the Fashion Show mall on the Strip, the Metropolitan Police Department alleges.

Police said Yamaguchi and her husband were exiting a vehicle when a robber tried to steal something, possibly her purse.

Then gunfire rang out, police said.

Yamaguchi, a 66-year-old woman from Waipahu on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, died at University Medical Center from a gunshot wound to the neck, the Clark County coroner’s office said Tuesday. Less than five hours later, police responded to a parking garage at Palace Station, about two miles away from the first crime scene, where a man was shot in another attempted robbery, police said.

The man, who had not been identified by the coroner’s office Tuesday, only was described as being in his 50s. He also died at UMC, police said.

The suspects were jailed Saturday on one count each of murder, attempted robbery, and conspiracy to commit a robbery. Police had not released an arrest report detailing the allegations.

They were ordered held without bail following a court hearing later that day.

Carter said he was taken into custody at the Bally’s casino after he drove by police, documented himself parking with a garage ticket, and strolled in peacefully. “How stupid do you think anyone would be — me — to rob someone, three people robbed, killed, then walk the casino like a regular person?” he said.

“How on Earth did that make any single sense?” he said.

Court logs do not show an attorney listed for either Ruby or Carter. Ruby declined an interview request.

Carter said he was visiting Las Vegas from California, and that he wagered big money on sports betting. He said he met Ruby in Las Vegas, and that he also gambled.

The jail’s video feed was choppy, and Carter, who said he was not feeling well, stammered his words.

“They’re just trying to get another Black man,” he said. “I won’t be it.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.

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