Employees at Ashley Furniture Homestore consider themselves members of one big family.
So when co-worker Lucia Reveles was charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of Ashley manager Robert Bills, staff members reacted with disbelief and anger.
On Monday, when 24-year-old Reveles and her attorney appeared in District Court seeking to have her statements to police thrown out, one Ashley employee listened to Reveles testify and quietly called her a liar.
“I think all of us had it in our minds that it wasn’t one of us because we’re such a tight family,” said another Ashley employee, Curtis Boutte. “To find out that one of our family did that was very shocking.”
Authorities suspect that Reveles provided inside information about the store to Thayer Burton, who is accused of killing Bills in the store parking lot on Nov. 23.
Reveles told Burton when money transactions were made and gave Burton a physical description of Bills, Las Vegas police said.
Burton was indicted in connection with the killing and is in custody at the county jail.
Boutte and half a dozen fellow employees attended a preliminary hearing for Reveles, who sat next to her defense attorney and was wearing a navy blue prison jumper and shackles on her hands and ankles.
Bills was killed when he left the store at 3130 N. Rainbow Boulevard to make a bank transaction. It was one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and he had more than $22,000 in cash and checks in a deposit bag stuffed into his pants pocket.
A hooded man dressed in black approached Bills, shot him but did not get any of the money, police said.
Todd Williams, a Las Vegas police detective, testified Monday that Reveles said shortly after the killing that she suspected a customer might have killed Bills. She suggested that police check surveillance cameras from neighboring stores because Ashley Furniture Homestore did not have cameras, Williams said.
In February, a source told police that Burton was involved in Bills’ killing. Police searched Burton’s home and found a black sweat shirt with Bills’ blood on it. Burton’s fingerprints were on Bills’ car, according to a Las Vegas police report. Burton was arrested in February.
During a June 17 interview, Reveles told police that three weeks before the killing, Burton said he wanted to rob the Ashley branch where she and Bills worked.
She then gave him information about the store and money transactions, a police report said.
Reveles did not come forward on the night of the slaying because she did not want to snitch, the report said.
On Monday, Reveles testified that police detectives never read her rights to her when they interviewed her June 17. She said detectives arrested her when she tried to leave the police station. Reveles, who was nine-months pregnant at the time, was so distraught that she slid to the floor and broke out crying inside the police station because she believed she had been arrested.
Detectives questioned her for about an hour before they allowed her to leave, Reveles said. She said in court that she thought she was under arrest while being interviewed.
Defense attorney James “Bucky” Buchanan said his client’s earlier statements to police should not be used because police did not read Reveles her Miranda rights.
Williams, the detective who interviewed her, said police did not read Reveles her rights because she was not under arrest. He said she was only being questioned.
Reveles was arrested June 18, the day after the interview.
Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure set a July 17 date to hear more arguments.
Contact reporter David Kihara at email@example.com or 702-380-1039.