Death penalty in LV case reinstated

CARSON CITY — The state Supreme Court has tossed out a lower court decision and reinstated the death penalty on Michael Mulder, who robbed and killed a 77-year-old Clark County man in 1996.

In the 7-0 decision Wednesday, justices threw out a 2005 decision by District Judge Michelle Leavitt, who eliminated Mulder’s death sentence.

Supreme Court justices ruled that their reconsideration of the aggravating factors in the crime “supports imposing the death penalty.”

In her decision, Leavitt had ruled that the fact the murder occurred during a robbery and burglary should not have been considered as aggravating factors.

Justices, however, said the jury would have sentenced Mulder to death even without those factors.

“There is ample evidence to establish that he committed both a premeditated and deliberate murder, as well as a felony murder,” the high court’s decision said.

Mulder was convicted of murdering John Ahart on July 8, 1996 in the older man’s trailer court home in Las Vegas.

Ahart was bound with duct tape and beaten over the head with a blunt object. Mulder’s fingerprints were on the tape.

Mulder had been convicted earlier of a bank robbery in Phoenix in 1980 and of armed robbery in Arizona in 1987.

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