Testimony: Mistaken ID of vehicle preceded Vegas shooting

AP News
|
Posted: Mar 16, 2015 6:43 PM

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Clear windows on a silver car, driven by an angry man who has never been found.

Tinted windows on a similar car, with a driver and a passenger who later told friends he knew he "got" the people he thought were following him late at night at a park near his home.

A grand jury transcript made public Monday points to a mix-up by a Las Vegas mother who'd been frightened enough by the first incident, involving a driver who stopped her and her teenage daughter during a driving lesson, to put herself and her adult son in harm's way.

"The state believes the first incident is totally unrelated to Erich Nowsch and the two shootings subsequent to the road rage incident," David Stanton, the Clark County prosecutor who presented evidence to the grand jury, told The Associated Press.

The panel deliberated just nine minutes March 5 before charging Erich Milton Nowsch Jr., 19, with murder and firing a gun from a vehicle in the death of Tammy Meyers, 44, and attempted murder for allegedly shooting at Brandon Meyers, 22.

Brandon Meyers testified he fired several shots in return. Police said they found three shell casings from Meyers' registered 9 mm handgun in the cul-de-sac outside the family's home.

Nowsch, who was arrested Feb. 19 at his home just a block away, has pleaded not guilty.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson has said he'll determine whether to seek the death penalty before trial, currently scheduled May 26.

"Tammy and her family were the victims of a horrific crime," said Samuel Schwartz, a lawyer representing the Meyers family. He declined to comment about the grand jury testimony.

Defense attorney Augustus Claus, representing Nowsch, didn't immediately respond to messages.

The accounts presented to the grand jury provided yet another twist to a case first described as a road rage slaying, then reshaped by the revelation that Tammy Meyers went looking with her armed son for the angry driver who frightened her earlier.

It turned out that Tammy Meyers and other family members knew Nowsch from at least passing encounters at a neighborhood park, and Nowsch told Las Vegas police Detective Clifford Mogg that he ate dinner at least once at the Meyers home.

The grand jury heard that Tammy Meyers took her teenage daughter home and fetched Brandon Meyers after a man driving a silver sedan swerved in front of their car, got out, walked to their front bumper and threatened to kill both of them.

"He said that he was going to kill, 'I'm going to kill you and your daughter,'" 15-year-old Kristal Meyers testified.

"Did it have tinted windows?" prosecutor David Stanton asked of the vehicle.

No, Kristal Meyers responded. She said she could see into the front and back of the car, and the driver was the only one in it.

Kristal Meyers described the angry driver for a police sketch artist as a man in his mid-20s, about 6 feet tall and 180 pounds with blond spiky hair and blue or hazel eyes.

She said she'd have recognized the 5-foot-3, 120-pound Nowsch.

About the same time that Tammy Meyers was telling Brandon Meyers to get in her car, Nowsch had a friend driving a silver Audi pick him up near where he'd seen a green Buick Park Avenue with tinted windows slowly cruising through a school parking lot, Mogg testified.

"He said he was standing in the park and it was dark," Mogg told the grand jury. "He told me that every time he would go left, the car would go left; he'd go right, the car would go right."

"He felt that these were the people that were coming after him to get him," Mogg said.

Brandon Meyers said that when his mom pulled up in the green Park Avenue behind a gray sedan parked near the school, he noticed the car had tinted windows.

Two shootings ensued. One was at a crossroads several blocks from the Meyers home, where police recovered five shell casings and one unfired bullet, all .45-caliber.

Seven .45-caliber casings were found at the scene where Tammy Meyers was mortally wounded in the cul-de-sac.

Mogg testified that Nowsch told him following his arrest that he was shocked that they drove past his own home during a cat-and-mouse chase from one scene to the next.

"He said at one point he was waving his pistol out the passenger window ... and he couldn't believe that the car that was behind him didn't just see that and stop and just go away," Mogg said.