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April 12, 2013
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Murder suspects detail planning

The fourth suspect charged in the slaying of William McCune, a 62-year-old state employee from Carson City, told detectives she waited for the other three assailants while they beat him to death and robbed him.

According to court documents:

Makayla Blackmore told investigators about the planning phase at a Carson City motel prior to the April 2 beating. She allegedly drove the other three defendants, Michael Evans, 23; Anthony Elliot, 20; and Raul Garcia, 23, to McCune’s apartment and then waited outside.

Blackmore, Evans and Elliot corroborated the details during individual interviews with investigators.

The sheriff’s office applied for a search warrant for Elliot, also known at Anthony Morris, after receiving information from McCune’s neighbor.

Once investigators were granted a warrant, they found blood on various items in Elliot’s apartment. Investigators were able to find Elliot’s friend, Evans, who told investigators he was at a motel with his friends. Evans identified the others in the motel room as Blackmore, Elliot and Garcia. He told them about their plan to rob McCune.

The three drove Evans to Walmart, where he purchased duct tape to tie up McCune, Nevada’s chief insurance examiner. Evans told investigators he did not know McCune, and that the others told him to knock on McCune’s door and ask to use the restroom. McCune offered Evans an alcoholic drink and the pair were drinking when Garcia and Elliot arrived, Evans said. Evans said they used various objects in the apartment to beat McCune and when he struggled, they tied him up with duct tape.

They then asked him for the personal identification numbers for his debit cards and loaded McCune’s truck, later found at Holbrook Junction in Douglas County, with items from his apartment.

The report states they knew, when they left the Dolphin Bay Apartment, that McCune was dead. Evans told investigators they returned the next night and attempted to clean the apartment.

Also according to court documents:

They then put McCune’s body in his car and dumped it in the Carson River, Evans told investigators. McCune’s body was found Saturday morning in the river.

Garcia, Elliot and Blackmore allegedly attempted to use McCune’s checks, credit cards and debit cards to get money and buy things, investigators learned from investigation and surveillance cameras.

Elliot, Garcia and Blackmore were arrested in Las Vegas. All four defendants are on no-bail hold on charges of open murder of a person over 60 and burglary. A preliminary hearing is set for 10 a.m. April 25.

POSSIBLE DEATH PENALTY

District Attorney Neil Rombardo said the death penalty is on the table, but his office is still weighing the evidence and reports.

The office will list the mitigating factors listed in Nevada law, which would make the death penalty less likely of an option, and the aggravating factors, which make the murder more heinous.

Mitigating factors include the suspect or suspects’ role in a murder, whether a suspect acted under domination of another person, the age of the suspect, whether the victim participated in the criminal actions, the lack of a significant criminal history and whether the suspect was an accomplice in a murder committed by another person.

Aggravating factors include whether the killing was committed during another felony, was done for money, involved torture, was done at random, was done to a child or was done because of a person’s protected class, such as sexual orientation, race, creed or nationality.

At least two capital murder cases were tried in the 1980s, but they were cases involving prisoners who had killed other prisoners at the Nevada State Prison, retired District Court Judge Michael Fondi said.

The death penalty was considered in a case in 1981, unrelated to the Nevada State Prison, by the then-District Attorney William Maddox, who is now the district attorney of Storey County. The defendant pleaded guilty and the death penalty was dropped, Fondi said. Maddox was the Carson City district attorney from 1981 to 1984.

The district attorney from 1985 until 2006, Noel Waters, said his office considered the death penalty in five murder cases but decided against it for various reasons in each case.

In 1901, the Legislature mandated all executions be held at the now-decommissioned Nevada State Prison and the first, by hanging, was in 1905, according to Retired State Archivist Guy Rocha. In 1911, the legislature allowed inmates to choose between the gallows or the gun. Only one inmate was ever executed by shooting.

In 1921, the Legislature eliminated shooting and hanging and moved the state to lethal gas, and in 1983, the Legislature moved the method of death to lethal injection. Daryl Linnie Mack was the last person to be executed and went voluntarily to his death in 2006, according to Rocha.

Although the Nevada State Prison has been decommissioned, the execution chamber is still the only one in the state. But experts say due to new court rulings, it may be impossible to conduct executions at the prison. A budget submitted to the Legislature proposed building a new execution chamber in Ely’s maximum-security prison inside the existing administrative building for $692,289.



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The Nevada Appeal Updated Apr 12, 2013 09:24AM Published Apr 12, 2013 01:49AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.