Vegas man to be tried in ex-wife’s death
Nevada Appeal News Service
An emotional father testified at a preliminary hearing Tuesday about arriving upon the scene a few minutes after his daughter was shot in the head twice on Farm District Road in Fernley on May 5.
Michael Fixer Newcastle, 35, of Las Vegas, is accused of the first-degree murder of his estranged wife, Shelby Hagedorn Joanette. His preliminary hearing was held Tuesday in Fernley Justice Court.
Curtis Hagedorn, Joanette’s father, testified he received a quick phone call from his daughter shortly after she left their Divot Drive home in Fernley stating the water and fuel light in her truck came on and the vehicle was broken down. He dressed quickly and rushed to the scene.
Arriving on scene, Hagedorn recalled seeing a young man on a cell phone behind Joanette’s truck and another young woman talking on a cell phone in front of Joanette’s truck. He saw his daughter on the ground under the front of the vehicle, thinking she was examining the broken vehicle.
“I saw a huge pool of blood pouring out of her head,” Hagedorn said. “She suffered massive wounds to the head. I’ve seen wounds like that before. I knew when I looked at my daughter she was in the throes of death.”
Hagedorn, a retired California Highway Patrol officer, choked up as he described kneeling beside his daughter, holding her hand and talking with her. He said after witnesses told him his daughter was shot, “there was no doubt in my mind who did this.”
Several times during his testimony, Hagedorn shot icy stares across the courtroom at his son-in-law, Newcastle, who sat calmly taking notes on a yellow writing pad.
Lyon County District Attorney Bob Auer also requested testimony from two on-scene eyewitnesses, a doctor and technician from the Washoe County Crime Lab, the investigating officer, Newcastle’s Las Vegas roommate, a worker from a Yerington tire shop, a mechanic from Carson City and two of Hagedorn’s neighbors.
Auer said on Wednesday that Jeff Haugen from Wabuska Tires testified Newcastle attempted to swap out custom tires for stock tires on May 5. Auer called David Morris, a Ford mechanic from Carson City, and said he testified the fuel line in Joanette’s 1999 Ford F250 pickup was tampered with.
At the time of the shooting, Joanette had filed for divorce from Newcastle, but he refused to sign the papers, Hagedorn said. Joanette was living with her parents on Divot Drive in Fernley.
Two of Hagedorn’s neighbors testified seeing a vehicle matching the description of Newcastle’s car in the Divot Drive area that morning.
Newcastle’s court-appointed attorney Jesse Kalter said he did not present any evidence at Tuesday’s hearing, but he cross examined the state’s witnesses.
Judge Robert Bennett found there was probable cause that first degree murder was committed and Newcastle was the perpetrator. He will be bound over to district court for further proceedings and Kalter will remain as his attorney.
Newcastle will be arraigned in district court in Yerington on June 11, where he will enter a plea. Kalter said Wednesday that Newcastle will plead not guilty to first-degree murder. Newcastle has a right to trial within 60 days, but Kalter said there is a possibility that will not happen in order to build a solid defense.
Newcastle is being held in the Lyon County Jail on $5 million bail.
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