A day after convicting a Las Vegas man in the April 2012 rape and murder of a mother and daughter, the all-women jury had another decision: whether or not to spare the 27-year-old his life.
On Wednesday, penalty arguments started in the case of Bryan Clay, who was found guilty Tuesday of beating the woman and girl with a claw hammer in an attack that also nearly killed the family’s husband and father.
Prosecutors asked for the death penalty for the killing of Ignacia “Yadira” Martinez, 38, and 10-year-old daughter Karla. Defense attorneys argued for a lesser sentence: life without the possibility of parole or life with the possibility of parole.
Over the next few days, the defense will argue mitigating circumstances that could spare Clay the death penalty. State attorneys will present aggravating circumstances, reasons that make the crime worse than any other murder.
On Wednesday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo told the jury about how Clay entered the criminal justice system as a 16-year-old high school student charged with open and gross lewdness for continually harassing a girl.
He also told jurors about the February and March 2012 incidents in which Clay, then 22, choked, beat, kicked, and hit his 16-year-old pregnant girlfriend “because she was going to leave him and kill his baby,” DiGiacomo said.
Clay attorney Christopher Oram played the video of Clay’s interrogation on the day police arrested him in connection with the March 2012 child abuse charge of his underage girlfriend.
In the video, Clay told police that he was drinking heavily and popping Ecstasy pills and could not recall the night of the Martinez murders.
Oram said Clay told detectives, “You should kill me. You should kill me if I’ve done this.”
On Wednesday, Oram told jurors Clay was raised by a single mother and that his dad went to prison. Clay traveled around Las Vegas, going in and out of schools, Oram said, and was raised in “gangland territory.”
“He saw people shot. He saw people killed,” he said. “Some of his family members are gang members.”
Oram said a doctor will testify that there are injuries to Clay’s brain, presented in an MRI. He also said that Clay’s daughter is “his pride and joy” and that the warden at Ely State Prison will testify to his good behavior.
“You may hear that he’s got a big mouth, a lot of bravado,” Oram said. “He’s never pushed a guard, hit another inmate.”
In the video, detectives also described the murder scene to Clay. They showed him pictures of his clothes found hidden by the Martinez home and a hat found at the scene of an attack on a 50-year-old woman that occurred nearby and within hours of the murders.
Clay repeatedly told them that he remembered only waking up in the chair he fell asleep in the night before.
“Stop. Tell me what happened. Please,” Clay said. “No shoes. Blood on the shirt. Lady. Hammer. I’m worried about what the hell I did.
“I did something to a little girl with a hammer. A little girl?”
Detective Dean O’Kelley responded, “Yeah. And her mother.”
Clay responds: “I really feel like there ain’t no apology for that. It ain’t like I can deny anything with everything pointed at me.”
Contact Briana Erickson at email@example.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @brianarerick on Twitter....Read more