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Potential jurors see robbery defendant, unaware of racist head tattoos

A panel of potential jurors in a Las Vegas courtroom did not seem to notice that the white supremacist tattoos on Bayzle Morgan’s face and bald head were covered with makeup Monday, as they will be for the rest of his robbery trial.

But in the early afternoon, one of his lawyers, Dan Bunin, noticed that some of the beige concealer over Morgan’s “Baby Nazi” neck tattoo had started to wear off and bleed onto the collar of his white shirt.

A teardrop tattoo below Morgan’s right eye also appeared to be showing through, the lawyer added.

District Judge Richard Scotti said he could not see the tattoos but agreed to delay jury selection for about 30 minutes while a makeup artist performed an impromptu touch-up.

The judge had ordered all of Morgan’s head, face and neck tattoos — including an Iron Cross on the back of his head and a swastika within a clover under his left eye — covered after members of a previous jury panel said they would not be able to decide the case fairly because of Morgan’s appearance.

Morgan is accused of stealing a man’s motorcycle at gunpoint in the northwest valley in May 2013. He also faces the death penalty in a separate murder case, which stems from the slaying of 75-year-old Jean Main just days before the robbery.

Prosecutors said Morgan broke into the victim’s home in the 8000 block of Green Pasture Avenue, pistol-whipped her over the head so hard that the trigger guard broke into pieces, and then shot her in the back of the head.

During questioning by the judge and attorneys on Monday, one woman reported reading about Morgan’s cover-up procedure in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and she was dismissed from jury duty.

She told others a few details about the article, and one man said he could still decide the case fairly, knowing Morgan had tattoos.

By law, jurors are supposed to consider only the facts of the case, not a defendant’s appearance.

Each day before jurors are led into the courtroom, the cosmetologist is scheduled to apply the makeup. When jurors see him, he will be uncuffed and wearing street clothes.

The makeup is to be scrubbed off before he is returned to the Clark County Detention Center each evening. On Monday, the cosmetologist suggested a brown shirt, rather than white or black.

Morgan’s capital murder trial is scheduled for next month, when another judge may have to decide whether the tattoos should be covered again.

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

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