Claims new evidence in Jeremy Strohmeyer case
LAS VEGAS – The man accused of killing a 7-year-old girl in a Nevada casino restroom says he wants to go to trial because there is new evidence in the case.
District Judge Joseph Bonaventure set a Feb. 1 evidentiary hearing for Jeremy Strohmeyer, who earlier pleaded guilty to killing Sherrice Iverson at a casino in Primm, Nev.
Strohmeyer, of Long Beach, Calif., claimed last month that he was ”bullied” into pleading guilty by his attorney, Leslie Abramson.
Bonaventure today vacated a Jan. 10 hearing on Strohmeyer’s motion for a trial, and set the new date for the evidentiary hearing.
The judge said Strohmeyer’s attorneys want to present new evidence.
”We will look at any new evidence and digest it,” Bonaventure said.
Bill Koot, Clark County deputy district attorney, said he understood the new information was from the Iverson family and Strohmeyer’s mother.
Strohmeyer’s new attorneys shed no light on what the new evidence might be.
Carmine Colucci, Strohmeyer’s new local attorney, said New York attorneys hired by Strohmeyer’s family plan to file a motion to vacate the sentence ”based on new information they have.”
Colucci said he did not know what that information might be.
The New York attorneys, Robert Preuss and Camille Abate, were hired by the Strohmeyer family to replace Abramson and Las Vegas attorney Richard Wright.
Abate, reached in her New York office this morning, declined to comment on any new evidence.
Strohmeyer, who is serving a life sentence at the Nevada state prison in Ely, was not at today’s hearing.
Strohmeyer filed a petition in District Court last month, asking that his guilty plea in the death of Iverson be set aside and that he be allowed to stand trial.
Strohmeyer, now 21, claims he never would have pleaded guilty if it weren’t for ”scare tactics, lies and appeals to guilt” used by Abramson to coerce him into taking a plea bargain he never wanted.
The petition contends that after Abramson took a flat fee of $250,000 – whether the case was resolved at a trial or through a plea bargain – she concluded it was financially more advantageous to push her client into a resolution rather than spend several weeks in a trial.
Abramson, a Los Angeles defense attorney, did not return a message left with her office this morning by The Associated Press.
Strohmeyer was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Oct. 14, 1998, after pleading guilty to killing the girl in a restroom in the California-Nevada casino border community of Primm, Nev.
The case attracted nationwide attention, and prosecutors said Strohmeyer made three different confessions.
Strohmeyer’s new attorneys claimed in the petition for a trial that he should be allowed to take his chances with a jury because he got poor legal advice to plead guilty.
Strohmeyer claims his confession was involuntary and based on ”erroneous advice” from Abramson.
The plea came after a jury was selected and the trial was about to begin.
In addition to Strohmeyer’s confessions, there also were security videos from the Primm casino showing Strohmeyer playing with Iverson during the early morning hours while her father gambled, and then following her into a restroom where the murder occurred.