Las Vegas strip killings suspect sentenced for bribing prison guard

Reuters News
|
Posted: Jan 21, 2015 6:43 PM

By Victoria Cavaliere

(Reuters) - A Nevada man serving time for rape and awaiting trial in a deadly shooting and fiery crash on the Las Vegas Strip was sentenced on Wednesday to as much as five additional years behind bars for a prison bribery scheme, officials said.

Ammar Asim Faruq Harris, imprisoned on a 2013 conviction for rape and robbery and charged with murder in the deaths of three people in the heart of Las Vegas the same year, pleaded guilty in October to bribery of a public officer.

At a court hearing Wednesday, a judge ordered that his existing prison sentence for rape be extended by two to five years for bribery, a spokeswoman for the Nevada attorney general said.

Law enforcement officials found a cell phone and other contraband in Harris' High Desert State Prison cell in 2014, items he obtained through payments to a guard, according to court documents.

A total of seven people were charged in the smuggling scheme, including another inmate and the prison officer, the attorney general's office said.

Harris is slated to go on trial in July and could face the death penalty if convicted in connection with a February 2013 triple homicide that authorities say stemmed from a road rage incident in Las Vegas.

He is accused of opening fire from his Range Rover SUV on an aspiring rapper as the victim was driving his Maserati on the Strip. The Italian sports car then veered into a taxicab, which crashed and burst into flames, police said. The rapper, cab driver and taxi passenger were all killed.

Authorities said Harris and the shooting victim, Kenneth Wayne Cherry, 27, had argued in the valet area of the Aria Resort and Casino a few blocks away a short time before the shooting. Harris has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder and several other charges in the case.

The incident unfolded less than a mile from where rapper Tupac Shakur was fatally shot in September 1996 while riding in a BMW with Death Row Records co-founder Marion "Suge" Knight.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Eric Walsh)