Juvenile sentenced in Desert Shores swan killing

Go to Desert Shores and, chances are, you’ll see the swans floating gracefully along the lakes, a serene reminder that nature is boundless in her beauty.

On Nov. 8, that serenity was shattered when residents discovered the mutilated bodies of an adult swan and two baby swans, as well as three ducks. A reward was put up. Police received a tip, and five males were arrested and charged with killing and mutilating the animals, a felony.

On Feb. 29, the juvenile who was arrested was set to appear before a judge in Juvenile Court. That morning, protesters from Nevada Political Action for Animals (NPAA) stood outside with posters urging people to stop cruelty to animals.

Dee Paturzo, known in Desert Shores as the Swan Lady, was there. She set up the foundation that owns the birds, buys their special food and feeds them daily. She brought the swans to the lakes more than 12 years ago. Also there was Sen. Mark Manendo, District 21, who put up part of the reward, and Stacia Newman, president of NPAA.

“I hope the judge hands down the maximum sentence,” Paturzo said before the perpetrator appeared before the judge. “I want him to get jail time or (at least) probation until he’s 21. … It’s absolutely brutal what he did, to bludgeon those swans and ducks to death. They were loved by the community.”

Dee Britton, another swan advocate, said she was “glad to see him get his day in court. When you care for animals … you look after them like they’re your kids.”

Manendo was looking beyond the attack and what it might mean.

“Hopefully this individual gets some treatment so he doesn’t graduate on to people in, you know, six months,” Manendo said. “Because if they learn they can get away with it, that’s what happens. Statistically, the Jeffrey Dahmers of the world started out with animals.”

The defendant’s parents, located inside, declined to comment to the press. The father hung his head.

In the courtroom, the Cimarron-Memorial student, who cannot be identified because he is a juvenile, was escorted in and sat quietly in a jail-issued orange T-shirt. His lawyer said the 17-year-old had no prior incidents of violence, came from a stable family and was a standout on the school’s wrestling team, ranked ninth in the state. He said the attack was a one-time event that occurred because the defendant was upset over an incident involving a girl.

He said his client was prepared to plead guilty to Count 1, a felony, to avoid a trial.

The judge ensured the defendant understood to what he was pleading and what it meant. When Judge William O. Voy told the student that the owners of the birds were in the audience and he should apologize to them and the Desert Shores community as a whole, the juvenile said very softly, “I want to apologize for what I’ve done.”

There was a long silence as those in the courtroom waited for him to continue.

The defendant stayed quiet.

“OK,” the judge said, breaking the silence.

Voy sentenced the boy to one-month house arrest, 12 months probation, 500 hours of community service, restitution to the owners, a formal letter of apology, no contact with the owners, being banned from Desert Shores and suspension of his driver’s license.

The last part was a big win for the waterfowl owners, said Paturzo, as driving restricts his freedom, making it a more impactful consequence for someone his age.

“The brutality, the way the animals were killed, so maliciously, we are happy with the judge’s (determination) but mostly, probation until he’s 21,” Newman said.

Judicial actions for the four other male adults who took part in the killings have not yet been scheduled. Juvenile Court moves faster in consideration of the age of its defendants.

At Desert Shores, the vestiges of the destroyed nest can still be seen near the corner of Mariner and Regatta drives where benches allow residents to pause and take in the serenity of Lake Jacqueline. South Shores resident Kelle Clarke, who moved into the area about three years ago with her husband, was pushing their daughter, Lilly, in a stroller and stopped beside another nest where a swan sat on her eggs. Clarke said the killing of the animals came as a shock, saying it was a “heartbreaking act that affected the whole community. … Someone left an angel statue where the nest had been.”

A man who did not want to be identified said that after the adult swan was killed, its mate swam around and around, calling out for its partner.

“They mate for life, you know,” he said.

To reach Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan, email jhogan@viewnews.com or call 702-387-2949.

Wagonwheel Drive overpass reopens after ice closure
Overpass at Wagonwheel Drive reopens after ice on the onramp caused the ramp to be shut down, Feb. 22, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Keeping warm at the city of Las Vegas’ homeless courtyard
With help from the city of Las Vegas, a Salvation Army shelter stays open during the day Thursday and Friday, offering a safe place for the homeless to find respite from freezing temperatures and snow. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sloppy, Slushy Road Conditions Lead to Slow Traffic
Traffic slowed to a crawl on Jones are near Russell as conditions worsened Thursday. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Winter storm blankets west side of Las Vegas Valley
On Wednesday evening through early Thursday a winter storm dumped more than 7 1/2 inches of snow on some parts of the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas snow day for children
Las Vegas kids play in the snow that fell on Feb. 21, 2019. (Belinda Englman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow closes Red Rock Canyon, residents enjoy rare snowfall
The greater Las Vegas area was hit with snowfall on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2019. This video shows the areas surrounding Red Rock Canyon and the Summerlin community. Video by: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas kids attend school in the snow
Las Vegas children attend school during a rare snowstorm on Feb. 21, 2019. Staton Elementary School and other CCSD schools remained open. (Glenn Cook/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People enjoying the snow in Summerlin
Fox Hill Park in Summerlin was busy Thursday morning, Feb. 21, 2019, with people enjoying the rare snow that fell overnight. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHP advises motorists to take caution during Las Vegas snowstorm
NHP advised motorists to take caution during the snowstorm in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Timelapse of snow at Red Rock Canyon
More than 7 inches of snow fell in the western areas of the Las Vegas Valley, including Red Rock Canyon, on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow falls at Fremont Street Experince in Las Vegas
Snow falls at the Fremont Street Experience early Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 in Las Vegas. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow in Summerlin
Snow in Summerlin on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (Anastasia Hendrix/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Snow At Red Rock Casino
Early morning snow in Summerlin on Thursday, feb. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Northwest Las Vegas sees heavy snow fall
Drivers on the 215 Beltway in northwest Las Vegas faced heavy snowfall on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow at Red Rock Casino and Resort.
Snow continues to fall Thursday morning in Summerlin. Heaviest snow west of 215.
Snow soccer in Las Vegas -VIDEO
Players enjoy a game of soccer during a snowstorm in the Anthem area east of Las Vegas on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow falls Wednesday evening in Las Vegas
Heavy snow began falling Wednesday evening in the southwestern part of the Las Vegas valley. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Snow falls on the Las Vegas Strip
Snow falls outside the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip as the Golden Knights play the Boston Bruins. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow near Deer Springs and Buffalo
Snow near Deer Springs Way and Buffalo Drive in the northwest Las Vegas Valley on Feb. 20, 2019.(Cassie Soto/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow in Las Vegas at Red Rock Casino Resort
A winter storm brings snow to Red Rock Casino Resort in Summerlin on Feb. 20, 2019. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
February 20 snow in Centennial Hills (Part 2)
Snowstorm in the far northwest valley. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
February 20 snow in Centennial Hills
Snowstorm in the far northwest valley. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NDOT prepares for snow and ice from winter storm
The Nevada Department of Transportation gears up to keep roads open when snow and ice hit the Las Vegas valley.
Developer gets approval to build homes at Bonnie Springs
The Clark County Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 20 homes on the site of Bonnie Springs Ranch. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Working cats at St. John the Baptist Church
Parish councilmember John Koutsulis talks about the two cats St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church have adopted as part of a working cats program.
Lee Canyon snow makes skiers smile
Skiers and snow boarders took advantage of the Presidents Day holiday and the recent snowfall at Lee Canyon, outside of Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston gets fresh blanket of snow
A winter storm drops nearly four inches of fresh snow on Sunday, February 17, 2019 at Mount Charleston outside Las Vegas. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow in the Las Vegas Valley
Snow accumulated in the Las Vegas Valley for the first time in more than a decade, with snow falling mostly in the western, northwestern and southern areas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review Journal) @bizutesfaye
Snow at US 95 and Lee Canyon Road
Passers-by pulled off Lee Canyon Road northwest of Las Vegas Monday to play in the fresh snow. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Road truck on an empty I-15
Snow and ice contributed to the closure of Interstate 15 near Primm. Jim Prather/Las Vegas Review-Journal
It is a rainy Valentine's Day in Las Vegas - Video
These scenes come from the Las Vegas Stadium LiveCam (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing