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RJ files motion to access Family Court case tied to Summerlin shooting

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has filed a motion asking a judge to allow media access to Family Court proceedings related to Dylan Houston and his ex-wife, Ashley Prince.

During a deposition earlier this month, Dylan Houston’s father, 77-year-old Joseph Houston, shot and killed Ashley Prince, 30, and her new husband, Dennis Prince, 57. Joseph Houston was acting as his son’s attorney, and Dennis Prince was acting as a co-counsel to his wife.

“This shocking act has raised several questions of public import regarding not only the victims and perpetrator — well-known in Las Vegas — but about the conduct of divorce proceedings and other acrimonious Family Court matters,” attorney Maggie McLetchie, who is representing the Review-Journal, wrote in a motion filed Tuesday.

The same day of the shooting, lawyers for Ashley Prince filed an emergency motion under seal requesting that sole custody of her and Dylan Houston’s two young children be given to the dead woman’s sister, according to court filings obtained by the Review-Journal.

Later motions in the custody battle have also been filed under seal and are not available in online records. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

District Judge Bill Henderson has indicated in court documents that media will be allowed to appear for the Wednesday hearing, during which he will “make a determination going forward” as to whether media will continue to be granted access.

The Review-Journal argued in Wednesday’s motion that a recent Supreme Court ruling affirmed that the public has a constitutional right to access Family Court proceedings, and that judges are not permitted to close proceedings without making a ruling on the issue.

The Supreme Court decision was made after the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, representing Alexander Falconi, the founder of the Our Nevada Judges news website, challenged a District Court rule that automatically closed some Family Court hearings.

The Review-Journal had also filed a petition challenging the District Court rule.

Records in the custody battle between Dylan Houston and Ashley Prince appear to have been sealed before the Supreme Court ruling in February, and there is not a clear record showing what has been sealed in the case, the Review-Journal wrote in Tuesday’s motion.

McLetchie wrote that hearing closures need to be considered on a case-by-case basis, and that “blanket sealing is impermissible.”

“In light of this landscape, the prior sealing order cannot be reconciled with either Falconi or the First Amendment and — consistent with both — this matter should be immediately unsealed and all court proceedings and records should be open to the public,” McLetchie wrote.

Ashley Prince and Dylan Houston, who is also a lawyer, divorced in late 2021 and were in the midst of a yearslong custody battle. Dylan Houston’s mother, Katherine Houston, was set to testify during the deposition on April 8. Katherine Houston had hired attorney Lisa Rassmussen to represent her for the deposition due to the acrimonious nature of the case, Rasmussen previously said.

Around 10 a.m. on April 8, about five minutes after a deposition began inside a conference room of the Prince Law Group, a personal injury, insurance law and commercial law firm on the fifth floor of the City National Bank Building at 10801 W. Charleston Blvd., Joseph Houston shot and killed Dennis and Ashley Prince before turning the weapon on himself.

At least four others were reportedly in the room at the time, and their lives were spared.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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