Bally’s shooting suspect can’t remember that morning

Benjamin Frazier doesn’t remember anything from the morning of Oct. 21.

He doesn’t recall being drunk or arguing with staff at Drai’s After Hours nightclub inside Bally’s on the Strip.

Frazier doesn’t remember the scuffle with security guards over a $30 cover charge.

He doesn’t remember taking out a .38-caliber revolver or pulling the trigger again and again, wounding two men.

The 41-year-old doesn’t remember fatally shooting Kenneth Brown, who police said was a “Good Samaritan” and tried to subdue Frazier.

“It’s just a huge blank in his memory,” said his defense lawyer and relative Robert Beckett, following Frazier’s first appearance in Las Vegas justice court Wednesday.

Frazier mostly hung his head when he appeared before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Cynthia Cruz. He was dressed in navy blue jail scrubs, with his arms and legs shackled. He told the judge he understood the charges against him.

Afterward, Beckett said Frazier was “saddened and shocked” after learning what he was accused of doing from detectives and others.

Frazier, who sometimes refers to Beckett as his “uncle,” spent several days at University Medical Center recovering from a head trauma he suffered when he was taken into custody. The trauma caused swelling around his brain and prompted doctors to induce a medical coma.

“He’s processing (this) the best he can,” Beckett said.

The defense lawyer said he didn’t know if Frazier couldn’t remember what happened because of the blow to his head or because he was drunk. Beckett, a former Nye County district attorney, has said Frazier has battled issues with alcohol.

Beckett was awaiting the results of a toxicology report.

The case probably will be reviewed by the district attorney’s death penalty committee once it is sent to trial in District Court. First, Cruz or a grand jury must decide whether prosecutors have enough evidence to bring the case to trial.

Cruz set a preliminary hearing in the case for Dec. 13.

The death penalty committee, whose meetings are not open to the public, looks at three factors when considering capital punishment: whether there are aggravating factors in the case including past convictions, whether a jury would impose the death penalty as punishment and whether a conviction would stand up under appeal.

Las Vegas police said Frazier opened fire about 5:45 a.m. in Bally’s, at 3645 Las Vegas Boulevard South, at Flamingo Road, after an argument at the entrance to Drai’s.

The argument began when Frazier asked club security whether he could go in and preview the crowd before paying the fee. Police said he decided to pay the cover and went inside but came out shortly afterward demanding a refund because the club wasn’t full.

He pulled a revolver on the security manager, Farias, during the argument and began firing as several people attempted to disarm him, police said.

Farias was shot in the arm and chest. Frazier then shot security guard Guerrero in the stomach, according to his arrest report. That is when Brown, who was leaving the nightclub, intervened and tackled Frazier.

When Brown, 40, saw Frazier shoot two Bally’s security guards, Robert Farias and Anthony Guerrero, Brown jumped on the man’s back and wrestled for the gun, according to police.

Brown, who recently moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles and worked as a club promoter and stand-up comedian, was fatally shot in the neck and upper chest.

Both guards were expected to survive.

Other patrons and guards held Frazier after Brown was shot. Frazier’s revolver was not registered in Clark County, according to a police report.

Frazier has a history of violent crimes in Las Vegas.

He was sentenced to probation for a June 30, 1996, incident at a topless club for which he pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon.

Most recently, Frazier pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor battery count for a fight Feb. 29, 2012, when he punched a bartender at a Strip casino and kicked another man. He was sentenced to six months of probation and ordered to take alcohol counseling.

Frazier remained jailed at the Clark County Detention Center without bail.

The shooting was the second deadly shooting on the Strip this year stemming from a nightclub altercation.

Ammar Harris, a pimp who bragged about his criminal life in Las Vegas, was arrested after a February shooting and crash on the Strip that killed three people. Police said the incident started after Harris and another man argued in Aria’s Haze nightclub.

Harris is facing the death penalty if convicted.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review or 702-380-1039.

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