A Las Vegas judge ruled Wednesday that a jury must decide whether a man acted in self defense when he fatally stabbed a panhandler on the Strip known as the “Pantyhose Prankster.”
Calvin Boyden III faces charges of murder and robbery in the death of Rip Alan Swartz.
Prosecutors have said that Boyden stabbed Swartz after a Nov. 25 encounter just outside Planet Hollywood.
Swartz, who was homeless, was found on a pedestrian bridge on Harmon Avenue about 12:40 a.m. with a stab wound to the chest, Las Vegas police said. He died at University Medical Center.
Defense lawyer Norm Reed argued that Boyden was defending himself against an attack and that the prosecution’s only witness during a preliminary hearing last month said Swartz swung at Boyden first.
But Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Janiece Marshall pointed to inconsistencies in testimony from Derick Flores, a friend of Boyden’s who was with him when the attack occurred.
Swartz, who was sitting with a sign offering bad advice for cash, shouted “a racial slur” at Boyden, Flores testified.
Flores said he never told police that Swartz swung first because they did not ask.
“At the end of the day, this will all be fleshed out at trial,” prosecutor Michael Schwartzer said.
After Wednesday’s hearing, Reed said he had not decided whether to argue the issue of self defense in front of a District Court judge or go straight to trial.
Swartz, 46, had been sentenced to prison in Pennsylvania for making random obscene calls to banks, restaurants and other numbers he found in the phone book, and asking women about their pantyhose, according to published reports.
Contact reporter David Ferrara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker