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January 12, 2013
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Carson man bound over on second-degree murder charge

When they got back to the apartment, Brittany Rubke was allegedly black and blue. Cassie Herrera knew her big sister wasn't breathing. Herrera pulled Rubke off the couch and started CPR.

"I found my sister on the couch and she wasn't breathing and she was already black and blue," Herrera testified in Justice Court Friday afternoon.

Angel Altamirano, 21, whom Rubke was living with, is charged with second-degree murder in the alleged overdose death of Brittany Rubke who was 23 at the time.

Altamirano, of Carson City, was bound over to district court by Judge John Tatro during a preliminary hearing.

According to Nevada state law, if a person dies from the ingestion of a controlled substance, the person who gave or sold her that drug can be charged with murder.

Altamirano was arrested on a second-degree murder warrant on Oct. 9, 2012. Altamirano will be arraigned in district court on Feb. 13.

According to Friday's testimony, allegedly Angel Altamirano called Herrera because Rubke "was acting weird," Herrera testified. Altamirano described the symptoms - Rubke would stand up and say she was locking the door, her hand grappling in mid-air in the middle of the room - and Herrera testified thtat she recognized them. Her sister had acted this way before, when a medication dosage was too high. Herrera thought it might be an adverse reaction. She told Altamirano to stay with Rubke, that she would find her own way to head over to the apartment.

Altamirano disagreed and picked her up, on Oct. 12, 2011. A few minutes later, they arrived back at the apartment to find the black-and-blue Rubke.

All the way to the hospital, Herrera gave her sister CPR until she ran into the hospital to get a nurse.

Rubke was eventually moved to the hospital in Reno, where she died on Oct. 17.

According to testimony from six witnesses called by the state, Altamirano told the witnesses, in various circumstances, that he either gave heroin or sold heroin to Rubke on Oct. 12.

Ariana Avila, Herrera's best friend, said Altamirano and her drove to a pawnshop to sell a necklace of Altamirano's so they could buy and smoke marijuana. On the way, Altamirano told Avila he was with Rubke that night and that he had given her 2-3 balloons of heroin to smoke. Avila testified that when Rubke began to convulse, Altamirano said he took the spoon away from her, shook her, saying, "Brittany, what's wrong?"

They smoked the marijuana after the talk, Avila testified.

Chris Wilson, who described himself as Altamirano's friend at the time, said he, Altamirano and Wilson's brother took a ride to the liquor store. On the way, Altamirano and Wilson started to talk and Altamirano began to cry.

"I remember him telling me we needed to quit (smoking heroin) because look what happens, what happened when he gave it to her," Wilson testified.

When Detective David LeGros interviewed Altamirano, LeGros said the 21-year-old told him he had arrived home late that night, that Brittany Rubke asked if he had anything to smoke and implied heroin.

LeGros said Altamirano told him Brittany had stayed in bed all that day and slept, that she was worried she would not be able to pass back out and therefore wanted to smoke.

Brittany Rubke had stomach pains, Herrera testified, and sometimes would bounce off the walls and other days, she would stay in bed.

"She was 23," Herrera said of her sister. "She was a really skinny petite blonde with blue eyes and long hair."


This story was updated on Tuesday, Jan. 15 to update the arraignment date and correct the number of witnesses who testified.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jan 15, 2013 02:53PM Published Jan 12, 2013 06:04PM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.