A 34-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for a triple homicide in 2017.
In May, a jury found Delon Holston guilty of three counts of first-degree murder with a deadly weapon and robbery with a deadly weapon. Holston was a passenger in a rental car on the 4100 block of Silver Dollar Avenue on June 13, 2017, when he shot the three other occupants – Tory Barnett, 31, Jason Harvey, 36, and 26-year-old Justin Brooks.
All three victims were shot in the head, prosecutors said. Harvey was shot four times in the back of the neck and died at the scene. Barnett also died at the scene and was shot nine times, including four in the head, as she tried to escape the car, leaving a trail of blood and hair behind her, the assistant district attorney said. John Giordani during closing arguments in the trial, according to court transcripts.
Brooks died months later at the University Medical Center, the Clark County Coroner’s Office said.
“The state is okay, these people were executed in the back of this car,” District Judge Tierra Jones said during Holston’s sentencing hearing on Thursday.
Holston faced the death penalty for the murders, but after the jury found him guilty, he negotiated with prosecutors to receive a life sentence with the possibility of parole.
Jones sentenced Holston to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 48 years.
During the trial, defense attorneys argued the shooting was in self-defense after Harvey threatened Holston’s children, according to court transcripts. Holston, who lived in California and was arrested in Inglewood after the murder, also claimed he was dealing drugs for Harvey and that the three victims attacked him hours before the shooting.
Holston’s defense attorneys argued that while they were in the car, Brooks pointed a gun at Holston, who disarmed him and then began shooting. But prosecutors said there was no evidence of a fight over a gun.
“There was a gun in that car and Mr. Holston brought it with him,” Giordani said during closing arguments, according to court transcripts.
After the shooting, Holston used Brooks’ Facebook account to message Brooks’ ex-girlfriend, telling her that Brooks had been shot, according to Holston’s arrest report. The message read “I was killed. He died as a baby.
During the sentencing hearing, defense attorneys Karen Connolly and Ivette Maningo argued that Holston was acting out of character because her children had been threatened. They said he was normally a kind, soft-spoken man with no violent criminal history.
Holston apologized for Thursday’s shooting.
“All I can do is just ask forgiveness and beg mercy from the court, thank the court and thank the State of Nevada for giving me a fair trial,” he said.
The judge said she struggled to see how someone with Holston’s reputation could commit the triple murder.
“It doesn’t make sense to me and it’s just a very troubling situation,” Jones said. “But I can’t ignore the fact that three people were killed the same way these three people were killed.”
Giordani read a statement from Barnett’s family, who wrote that before her death she was attending college and caring for her son, who is struggling to understand what happened to his mother.
“She made irresponsible decisions and she paid for them, but she didn’t deserve to be executed, shot from behind,” Giordani read in the statement.
Harvey’s mother, Renee Harvey, also said that although her son “made bad decisions”, he was a good father and stepfather who loved children and took care of his family.
After the hearing, Connolly said Holston wanted his day in court, but accepted the sentence.
“Given the jury’s verdict, we believe the sentence was fair,” she said.