A jury learned Thursday that a convicted killer on trial for murder is accused of going on a violent crime spree in Las Vegas in 2006 that left three dead, including two Hispanic laborers slain during robberies.
County prosecutor David Stanton told a jury that defendant Eugene Nunnery tried to kill 11 people during a monthlong crime spree in the Las Vegas Valley. Nunnery, 29, also committed several robberies and at least one home invasion, he said.
During one of the slayings, Nunnery tried but failed to execute a pregnant 14-year-old witness, he said. In another, Nunnery shot a robbery victim in the head, Stanton said. The victim survived.
Nunnery is on trial for shooting and killing a drug dealer in August 2006 near Sahara Avenue and Industrial Road. Authorities said he killed 24-year-old Raphael Alfred because the victim shortchanged him in a $50 marijuana deal.
The jury on Monday convicted Nunnery of first-degree murder with a deadly weapon and other charges for killing Alfred. The jury is now hearing evidence during Nunnery’s penalty phase.
At the end of the hearings, the jury will decide whether to spare Nunnery’s life or sentence him to death.
Until now, the jury wasn’t allowed to hear about all the crimes Nunnery is accused of because it was deemed too prejudicial.
Earlier this week, the jury was told about Nunnery’s childhood and heard from his supporters. Originally from California, Nunnery’s mother was a drug user and prostitute who died when he was young. His father beat him and left Nunnery and his two younger siblings at a young age.
Nunnery’s sister, Dana Nunnery, told the jury that they grew up in poverty and shoplifted at a local liquor store for food. She said Nunnery was the family’s father figure.
“The person who took care of us was my brother, Eugene,” she said.
Nunnery was bounced around more than a dozen homes and was kicked out of one foster home because he admitted to sexually molesting a girl, prosecutors said.
He played football in high school and graduated. He attended some classes at a community college and aspired to be a Navy Seal or a professional football player.
A former girlfriend testified that Nunnery treated her newborn like his own.
Doctors testified that Nunnery suffers from brain damage, possibly because of fetal alcohol syndrome.
But the jury also learned the details of Nunnery’s crimes. In August 2006, Nunnery killed Alfred, authorities said. Three weeks later, Nunnery and several co-defendants robbed three Hispanic men outside a business on Eastern Avenue near Bonanza Road, Stanton said.
During the robbery, authorities said Nunnery shot and killed Antonio Perez Martinez, 42.
A week later, on Sept. 22, Nunnery and three other men robbed a group of Hispanic men in an apartment complex parking lot on Pecos Road near Washington Avenue. Nunnery shot and killed Saul Nunez Suastegui, 29, during the robbery. A jury last year convicted Nunnery of first-degree murder for killing Suastegui and sentenced him to die.
James Vaccaro, a retired Las Vegas homicide detective who investigated Martinez’s slaying in 2006, testified that Nunnery and his co-defendants targeted Hispanics because they believed the victims wouldn’t report the crimes.
Vaccaro told the jury that Nunnery planned the robberies, going so far as to load his 9 mm automatic with alternating rounds of hollow point and regular bullets in an attempt to confuse law enforcement.
Vaccaro interviewed Nunnery on Sept. 28, 2006. He said Nunnery confessed to the slayings, even admitted the robberies escalated to murders after Nunnery grew angry that the victims tried to run away. Vaccaro, a 30-year veteran with Las Vegas police, said it was “one of the most candid interviews I ever had as a homicide detective.”
Contact reporter David Kihara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039.