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Pritchett found guilty in 2006 murder

A Clark County jury on Friday found a 40-year-old man guilty of first-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon for slaying his lover’s husband in April 2006.

After deliberating about eight hours, the jury also found Shawn Pritchett guilty of robbery with use of a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit murder for the slaying of Larry Thomas, 47. The jury was hung on a related charge of first-degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon.

A sentencing hearing before Judge Elissa Cadish was scheduled for Nov. 17.

Pritchett faces a minimum sentence of 25 years to a maximum of life without the possibility of parole.

Thomas’ wife, Stephanie, 48, in August pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. She is in the Clark County Detention Center awaiting sentencing.

A family spokesman afterward thanked the prosecutors, detectives and the witnesses who came forward in the case. “We were very relieved, and it brings a lot of closure,” said John Thomas, the murder victim’s cousin.

Prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo said, “The jury saw without question that Shawn Pritchett planned and executed the murder of Larry Thomas in order to steal Larry’s life.”

Defense attorney James Oronoz said an appeal of the verdict is being planned.

Prosecutors said Larry Thomas, a College of Southern Nevada auto technology instructor, planned to leave his wife on April 13, 2006, because of her ongoing affair with Pritchett and her use of their money to support Pritchett’s failing business ventures.

Authorities contend Pritchett, with the help of an accomplice who was not charged for lack of evidence, attacked Thomas at his home with a baseball bat. Pritchett then drove Thomas in his pickup to Mountain Pass, Calif., where he ran over him with the truck, killing him.

Afterward , Pritchett lived with Stephanie Thomas and her children for about two years while Henderson homicide detectives investigated the case.

Authorities relied mostly on circumstantial evidence in their case against Pritchett. A significant piece of evidence involved cell phone records that showed Pritchett at the victim’s home and eventually at the location where Larry Thomas’ body was recovered.

Stephanie Thomas’ sister, Jennifer McCue, told investigators that Pritchett was responsible for Larry Thomas’ death. Thanks to McCue, police learned about another significant piece of evidence — a steering column from Larry Thomas’ pickup that had gone missing along with him in 2006.

Authorities said Pritchett sold parts from the truck to friends. Investigators linked those parts to Larry Thomas’ pickup via bar codes. Pritchett also sold a ring and other jewelry belonging to Larry Thomas to a pawn shop.

The jury also heard testimony from a bartender who received a call from Pritchett asking her to say he was at a bar the night investigators say Thomas is believed to have been killed, as well as testimony from a friend of Pritchett’s who said the defendant tried to recruit him to help with the slaying.

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

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