Jury finds man guilty of killing prostitute

LAS VEGAS - A man found lying naked on his bloody kitchen floor with a dead prostitute was found guilty Thursday of the woman's death.

Ronald Collins admitted during the two-and-half day trial that he killed Agnes Ready, a 37-year-old Fremont Street prostitute, but he said he did so in self-defense after she lunged at him with a knife. The nine-year Las Vegas resident added that he was only looking for someone to talk to when he picked the woman up and drove to a secluded spot.

An autopsy revealed that Ready suffered from numerous cuts and stab wounds and that she died from a slashed throat.

Prosecutors are seeking life in prison without possibility of parole on the first degree murder charges.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Edward Kane told jurors during closing arguments Thursday that Collins' bizarre story concerning the events that led to Ready's death Jan. 11 is just that - a story.

''His story is nonsense and you know it,'' Kane told the jury. ''His goal was to commit this crime and get away with it.''

Deputy Special Public Defender Joseph Sciscento argued that there was no DNA evidence under Ready's inch-long fingernails or evidence of sexual assault.

Collins, 31, said he drove his pickup to an out-of-the-way spot in North Las Vegas at Ready's request. While they were seated in the truck, drinking beer and talking, an unknown third person smashed Collins in the back of the head, Sciscento said. That's when Ready lunged at Collins with a knife.

Collins' wife, Melanie Collins, invoked her spousal privilege not to testify during the trial, but she appeared in court Thursday for the first time openly sobbing during Sciscento's closing arguments. Collins also cried.

''It's bizarre, it's not normal,'' said Sciscento, who blamed Collins' alleged blackouts on an old head injury that was exacerbated by the recent blow to his head. Collins claims he blacked out after bringing the body into his house until his wife came home.

Prosecutors during the trial allowed jurors to hear the 911 call she placed to police and a written statement she gave to police.

Melanie Collins had spent the previous night at her mother's house after she and her husband had an argument, police said.

About 4:30 a.m., she returned to their home in the northwest valley to find blood stains throughout the home. She walked into the kitchen, and found a bloody body covered with a blanket.

Metro homicide detectives said she told them she screamed, thinking it was her husband, but then Ronald Collins crawled out from underneath the blanket. Both he and the victim were naked and covered in blood.

Melanie Collins on Thursday, however, told The Associated Press that her husband did not come out from underneath the blanket.

''I don't know why I said that,'' she said outside the courthouse after District Judge Joseph Bonaventure sent the jury to deliberate. ''That blanket was too tiny to have more than one person under it.''

But she couldn't say where her husband was when she arrived home. Melanie Collins said she was so upset at the time she can't remember.

Melanie Collins told police she had left home with her son on Jan. 10 because her husband was drunk and she feared for her safety.

Police arrested Collins after a four-hour standoff. SWAT officers found him hiding in an air-conditioning duct in the attic. Two hunting knives were found inside Collins' pickup.

Collins' sister, Cheryl Rogers, said her brother fell out of a two-story building on his head while working on a construction site in Illinois in 1987 and was pronounced legally dead before surgery to remove blood clots from his brain.

''He did change,'' she said.


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