LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas police detectives say they were surprised when they were able to use a decoy mannequin in their search for a suspected killer who had bludgeoned to death two homeless men.
Metropolitan Police Department officers and a prosecutor described Tuesday how they used a CPR-training mannequin to help convict Shane Schindler.
Although authorities never found enough evidence to charge Schindler in the deaths of two men, they caught him on camera in February attacking the decoy dummy with a hammer. Schindler was recently sentenced to eight to 20 years in prison for attempted murder for hammering the dummy, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2wdgQk5 ).
The mannequin was on display at an event held at the Mob Museum, about a mile from where police used it as a decoy.
Capt. Andy Walsh thought of the idea to use the dummy. As captain of Metro's Downtown Area Command, he said he felt a responsibility to the community to find whoever killed Daniel Aldape and David Dunn however he could and prevent another attack.
"It's something we take personally," Walsh said.
He joined homicide detective Ryan Jaeger and prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo to discuss the case. Jaeger doubted Walsh's idea would draw anybody to attack it, as did DiGiacomo.
"Clearly, I was wrong," DiGiacomo said.
Authorities have said they believe Schindler was in the area at the time of the Jan. 4 killing of Adalpe. On Schindler's phone, police found a selfie taken in November that shows him on his back in the area. He told police in an interview that he knew he was attacking a dummy and not a person.
After police caught Schindler attacking the dummy in February, they booked him on an outstanding jaywalking warrant to buy time to devise their next plan. They released him the next morning, and police conducted surveillance to determine where he lived. They requested and received a search warrant for Schindler's house.
Police arrested him that night on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon, as police said he put a hammer inside of a bag after he used it to attack the mannequin.
Yet DiGiacomo said he wasn't satisfied with the concealed weapon charge.
"He tried to kill somebody," DiGiacomo remembered thinking aloud. "That's attempted murder."
Prosecutors charged Schindler with attempted murder, but his case never made it to trial. DiGiacomo and Schindler's public defender, Ashley Sisolak, reached a plea deal. Schindler would plead guilty to attempted murder and prosecutors wouldn't pursue murder charges.
Had the sides failed to agree on the deal, DiGiacomo said he would've indicted Schindler for murder.
"If he didn't think he was involved in the murders, I don't think I ever get a plea out of this case," DiGiacomo said.
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com