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Jury being picked in Las Vegas highway shooting case

Jury selection has begun in an attempted murder case where a woman is charged with scheming to have her estranged husband killed in a highway shooting.

Amy Pearson, also known as Amy Bessey, faces eight charges, including solicitation to commit murder, conspiracy and attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon. If convicted Pearson could face 2 to 91 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Pearson enlisted the help of the couple’s adopted son, Michael Bessey, 22, and her brother, Richard Pearson, to kill her husband as he drove south on Interstate 15 near the Valley of Fire on Nov. 14, 2012.

Robert Bessey was hit in the neck by a shot fired from a gold SUV that pulled next to his car about 4:30 a.m., but he survived. He recognized the SUV as belonging to his brother-in-law’s girlfriend.

Investigators said the primary motive appeared to have been a $250,000 insurance policy on Robert Bessey’s life set to expire after the couple’s divorce was finalized, but the relationship between mother and son also appeared to be a factor.

Robert Bessey told detectives that “Michael and Amy were very close,” which prompted the divorce. Family members told Robert Bessey that “Amy had an unnatural relationship with Michael and was too close,” a Las Vegas police report said.

Amy Pearson’s defense lawyers, Blaine Beckstead and Augustus Claus, have been critical of the prosecution’s theories in the case in pre-trial motions.

“The State’s allegations in the instant case run the gambit from multiple botched ‘murder for hire’ schemes involving at least 4 parties, to an incestuous relationship between mother and son as the basis for instant offense or perhaps it was the enraged brother who simply couldn’t stand to see his sister beaten anymore,” the lawyers said in a motion filed earlier this year. “The state’s theories rotate with the time of day.”

Richard Pearson and Michael Bessey are set to stand trial Feb. 24 on similar charges.

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

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