Death sentence upheld for man who killed stepfather in Vegas

CARSON CITY - Rodney Emil's death sentence, for the murder of his stepfather on a Las Vegas street in 1984, was upheld Thursday by the Nevada Supreme Court.

Emil, 39, who got $7,600 from his mother after the murder, raised numerous issues on appeal, including a claim that prosecutors withheld evidence that might have cleared him.

The Supreme Court said some evidence may have been withheld, but Emil couldn't prove that it made any difference in the outcome of his trial.

Prison records state that Emil and several friends, riding in a pickup, drove alongside his stepfather's car, Emil stood up in the back of the truck and fired four shots from a handgun.

Also rejected was a claim of ineffective trial counsel, including an argument that Emil's lawyer didn't adequately defend him against a charge that he committed the murder for money.

The death sentence was ordered after jurors found two aggravating factors: the murder was done for cash; and Emil had previously been convicted of another killing.

In other rulings, the Supreme Court:

-Rejected an appeal from a Reno man who got two consecutive life terms with possible parole for the beating death of an elderly man who was in his care.

Charles May was found guilty of killing Robert Whitmore, 79, a retired Air Force colonel. Jurors also convicted him on six counts of forging checks that were written to himself but drawn on Whitmore's account.

-Rejected an appeal from Erwin Apura, who got double no-parole life terms for a Reno-area murder that he claimed he couldn't remember.

Justices said evidence of Apura's guilt was overwhelming, adding that before the shooting Apura had harassed the victim.

As for Apura's claim he couldn't remember the crime, justices added, ''Amnesia, by itself, does not render a defendant automatically incompetent to stand trial.''


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