Federal plea possible in Las Vegas homeless slayings case
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A plea deal was being discussed Tuesday in a federal weapons case involving a man who police say killed two homeless men and wounded two other people in ambush shootings in the Las Vegas area.
Prosecutor Phillip Smith Jr. won a postponement of a hearing of evidence against Joshua Emmanuel Castellon in a court filing that referred to the possibility of avoiding a federal grand jury indictment and trial.
The filing said the defense needs more time to examine its options.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach reset Castellon’s preliminary hearing for April 6.
Castellon’s court-appointed federal public defender, Brenda Wecksler, declined to comment.
Castellon, 26, is a married father of three who told police he was a driver for a rideshare company. He has been in federal custody since his arrest Feb. 16 on an illegal acquisition of a weapon charge.
He is expected to be prosecuted in Nevada state court on murder and attempted murder charges in the shooting deaths of homeless men on Jan. 29 and Feb. 2, and the Jan. 29 wounding of a sleeping homeless man, all in Las Vegas.
He also is charged in the shooting of a clerk early Jan. 29 outside a store in rural Logandale, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) north of Las Vegas.
Authorities identified the slain men as Brian Wayne Clegg, 51, and James Edgar Lewis, 64. Each died of multiple gunshots, and investigators said it appeared the bullets fired in all four attacks came from the same gun.
The attacks renewed fears of safety in a Las Vegas homeless community rocked a year ago by the bludgeoning deaths of two sleeping homeless men in downtown Las Vegas, and the arrest of a man who later pleaded guilty to a hammer attack on a mannequin that police posed as a decoy near the scene of the earlier slayings.
That man, Shane Allen Schindler, 31, was not charged in the deaths of Daniel Aldape and David Dunn, who died of head injuries. Schindler is serving eight-to-20 years in state prison after pleading guilty last June to attempted murder.