Carson City man pleads not guilty to open murder of Carson mother Desiree Bragg

The man charged with the murder of a Carson City mother pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning in district court.

Leonardo Cardoza, 27, is charged with the open murder of 19-year-old Desiree Bragg with a deadly weapon and the attempted murder with a deadly weapon of her fiance, Steven Castro. Cardoza pleaded not guilty to both counts.

Judge James Wilson set the trial for Aug. 19-30, excluding Tuesdays. The trial is expected to last five to seven days, with the selection of the jury expected to take a little longer than usual.

Open murder means the jury will have to decide, if it finds Cardoza guilty, whether he had committed murder 1 ­­­­— premeditated murder ­­— or non-premeditated murder. The maximum penalty Cardoza could face if convicted is life without the possibility of parole. The deadly weapon enhancement on each charge could add an additional 20 years for each iteration. The maximum penalty for attempted murder is 20 years.

The prosecution alleges Cardoza tailgated Desiree Bragg and her fiancé, Steven Castro, 19, from the AM/PM in the 2700 block of U.S. Highway 50, then used his car to ram her into the side of her mother’s house, the night of Jan. 26.


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