Daimon Monroe tried to convince a jury during his week-long trial that police and jail inmates set him up. He was innocent, he claimed, and never plotted to kill a judge, prosecutor and cop. But the jury didn’t buy it.
After about 10 hours of deliberating, jurors found Daimon Monroe, 42, guilty Thursday of three counts of solicitation to commit murder.
The strain of the trial showed in the courtroom Thursday. One juror burst out crying after District Judge Douglas Herndon read the verdict. Several others sobbed quietly.
Monroe stood quietly as the verdict was read, a departure from his demeanor during the trial. At times, he flashed handwritten signs at courtroom attendees and tried to speak with others.
One juror said she saw Monroe make an obscene hand gesture toward a police officer sitting in the courtroom.
Monroe’s three intended targets — District Judge Michelle Leavitt, county prosecutor Sandra DiGiacomo and Las Vegas police Detective Bradley Nickell — all sat in the courtroom as Herndon read the verdict.
Despite the conviction, Nickell said he’ll always be worried that someone might be trying to kill him.
“I’ll have to look over my shoulder the rest of my life,” Nickell said.
One juror in the case, Jean Pregman, 46, said jurors were initially concerned about serving in the case because the charges involved a murder-for-hire plot.
She said jurors discussed whether they too would become potential targets.
“If he got out, would he remember our names?” Pregman asked.
Monroe is scheduled to be sentenced June 25. He is serving a life sentence on an unrelated theft case.
“I’m really glad they (the jurors) will hold him accountable for his actions despite hearing that he already had a life sentence,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Roy Nelson.
Monroe, who is also known as Daimon Hoyt, is scheduled to go on trial in August in a sexual abuse and lewdness case. He is accused of using a Taser on his daughters, ages 9 and 12, and then sexually abusing them.
He has pleaded not guilty in that case.
Authorities said Monroe wanted to kill DiGiacomo and Nickell because they had put him behind bars in a major 2006 theft case. In that case, police accused Monroe and his co-defendants of stealing at least $2 million worth of electronics, furniture, sports memorabilia and other goods.
Authorities said Monroe wanted Leavitt dead because she was presiding over his case and he feared she would give him a harsh sentence if he were convicted.
Monroe agreed to pay $30,000 to kill Leavitt, DiGiacomo and Nickell with an additional $500,000 to be paid after the job was done.
During his trial, prosecutors showed jurors letters they said Monroe had written, including one where he stated, “Kill Leavitt, Nickell. Hold DiGiacomo.” Authorities also had a jailhouse informant, Eddie Gutierrez, wear a hidden recording device during a meeting with Monroe at the county jail.
During the meeting, Monroe confirmed that he wanted to plot to go forward, authorities said.
Gutierrez, who testified during the trial, said the three targets were to be killed by a gunman on a motorcycle driving up to them on the street and shooting them in the head with a 9 mm handgun.
But Monroe, who testified during the trial, said he had been set up by other inmates inside the jail. He also claimed to have been the victim of a conspiracy involving Las Vegas police, who wanted to frame him in order to keep him behind bars.
Christina DiEdoardo, one of Monroe’s attorneys, told the jury during closing arguments that Monroe was the victim of entrapment.
“We believe there are more than adequate grounds for this verdict to be overturned on appeal,” she said afterward.
Contact reporter David Kihara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039.