The man accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill witnesses in bodybuilder Craig Titus’ murder case was described by authorities and an ex-girlfriend as an obsessed fan who was in awe of the nationally known bodybuilder.
During the first day of Nelson Ronald Brady’s murder-for-hire trial Wednesday, prosecutor Josh Tomsheck said the 41-year-old was enthralled by Titus when they met in the Clark County Detention Center.
When Brady was released from jail, he tried to organize an assassination plot targeting three key witnesses in the murder case involving Titus and Titus’ wife, Kelly Ryan, prosecutors say.
“If you are a baseball fan, it’s like meeting your Barry Bonds,” Tomsheck said.
Titus and Ryan are accused of killing their personal assistant, Melissa James, 28. Police suspect that the two left her body in the trunk of Ryan’s jaguar and burned it along with the vehicle in the desert. The vehicle was found in December 2005. They are scheduled to go to trial in June.
Brady is accused of soliciting an undercover police detective posing as a hit man to take out the witnesses. Brady paid the detective a $1,500 down payment, authorities said.
Brady’s attorney, Michael Schwarz, said Brady was innocent of the charges and merely was trying to “assist Mr. Titus with discrediting witnesses.”
During the trial Wednesday, Theresa Fragola, Brady’s ex-girlfriend, testified that Brady told her of the plot to kill witnesses. She thought Brady was joking when he first described the murder-for-hire plot. She came to believe he was serious after he threatened to kill her if she exposed the plan, she said.
“I’d be next on the list,” she said.
She described Brady as glorifying Titus and said Brady’s admiration for the bodybuilder was “bizarre” and obsessive.
Schwarz painted Fragola as an angry ex-girlfriend who had been arrested for hitting Brady on the head with a bottle. Fragola denied she struck Brady with a bottle but admitted she was arrested for domestic violence against Brady.
Fragola said her relationship with Brady was fraught with violence. She said Brady physically abused her on many occasions, and broke her neck, arm, nose, back and ribs.
Brady pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic battery, a charge he was serving time for when he met Titus in jail.
Authorities learned about the murder-for-hire plot in 2006 when a jail inmate, Deem Cassim, told police that Brady approached him inside the jail about carrying out the hits. Cassim was jailed for the 2004 robbery of 2004 World Series of Poker champion Greg “Fossilman” Raymer in Las Vegas.
Contact reporter David Kihara at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 380-1039.