A 55-year-old Las Vegas man was convicted of first-degree murder Tuesday in what prosecutors called a “revenge killing” over a cellphone charger.
James “Jim Bob” Pete, who had been homeless for about 10 years, claimed self-defense in the June 9 slaying of Devone Blair, 37, near Sahara Avenue and Maryland Parkway.
A jury took about five hours to convict Pete, who is to be sentenced in April.
Pete’s defense lawyer, Karen Ann Connolly, called the victim a “violent street thug” and a “notorious, violent bully.”
Pete testified that he felt threatened by Blair and stabbed him “because he came at me.”
He said he thought Blair would kill him if he did not use the knife.
“I just went until he stopped moving,” Pete testified.
Connolly pointed out to jurors that Blair stood 6-foot-3-inches tall, while Pete is a frail 5-foot-7-inches tall and in poor health.
But prosecutors said there was no evidence of a struggle, and Blair suffered 24 stab wounds, at least six of which could have been fatal.
Prosecutor Leah Beverly said “this case is about revenge and nothing else.”
While Blair had a history of domestic violence and slept on the streets when he and his wife were not getting along, prosecutors said he never threatened Pete directly.
Prosecutors believe Blair was attacked in his sleep.
Five hours before the slaying, prosecutors said, a woman called police saying she had been beaten and someone had stolen her phone charger. Prosecutors believe the woman was Pete’s friend.
Later, in the early morning hours of June 9, a drunk and high Blair stumbled back to a stoop in the 800 block of East Sahara Avenue.
Meanwhile, prosecutor Agnes Lexis said, Pete was “watching, waiting, plotting.” As Blair fell asleep, Pete walked up to the stoop and “exacted his revenge.”
“There was no apparent danger,” Lexis said. “There was no actual danger. There’s just murder.”