Man sentenced for 2004 shooting death

Six years after off-roaders found 38-year-old Anthony Wayne Helton’s body near Laughlin, his killer was sentenced to prison.

John Hemmers, 46, was sentenced Monday to 18 to 45 years in prison for shooting to death Helton in November 2004. Hemmers was given more than four years credit for time served.

Hemmers pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder and robbery with use of a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty against Hemmers before they agreed to the plea deal.

Hemmer’s originally rejected a plea deal that would have come with a sentence of 15 to 50 years in prison, according to court records. Lawyers involved in the case have said Hemmers’ decision was based on his belief that he would have a better chance at parole if he served a longer period on the low end of the sentence.

Helton’s mother and sister testified at Monday’s sentencing hearing before Judge Donald Mosley.

According to grand jury testimony, Helton was killed by a single gunshot to the back of his head. Authorities said Hemmers stole Helton’s white 2003 Ford F-350 pickup after the slaying.

Helton was dating Hemmers’ sister at the time, according to grand jury testimony.

Hemmers has a lengthy criminal history involving drug and alcohol abuse, according to court documents. He was arrested in Arizona in July 2005. Authorities believe he spent part of his nine months on the run hiding in the Mexican border town of Cuevas.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at or 702-380-1039.


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