Trial delayed for driver held since 2015 in deadly Las Vegas Strip pedestrian crash
May 18, 2023, 12:08 PM
(Chitose Suzuki/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Trial was delayed Thursday for a woman who has been in custody in state psychiatric facilities for more than seven years after being accused of intentionally plowing a car into pedestrians on a Las Vegas Strip sidewalk in December 2015.
Paris Paradise Morton, who rejected a plea bargain this week that would avoid trial, told Clark County District Court Judge Tierra Jones she wants a different court-appointed attorney to represent her on murder and 70 other felony charges. The crash killed an Arizona woman and injured dozens of other people near the Paris Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood resorts.
The judge called off a trial that had been scheduled to begin May 30 and set a closed-door hearing with Morton next Wednesday to determine if she will get a new lawyer. No new trial date was set.
Morton, now 32, has been prosecuted as Lakeisha Nicole Holloway, the name she gave to authorities following the crash a few days before Christmas 2015. Records show she legally changed her name before the crash from Holloway to Morton.
Jessica Valenzuela, 32, a tourist from Buckeye, Arizona, was killed and authorities said at least 35 people from several states, Mexico and Canada were injured.
Clark County and Las Vegas have in recent years installed rows of vehicle barriers called bollards along Las Vegas Boulevard and other sidewalk curbs with large pedestrian crowds to prevent similar crashes.
Morton’s daughter, who was 3 years old at the time, was with her in the car during the crash, after which Morton drove to a casino-hotel off the Strip and asked employees to call police. Morton’s court-appointed defense attorney, Scott Coffee, has said she no longer has custody of the child.
Coffee has said his client was from Portland, Oregon, and traveled through several cities in the U.S. and Canada before arriving in Las Vegas a few days before the crash.
Morton told investigators she and her daughter had been living in the car and sleeping in casino parking areas until being told by security officers to leave. Authorities said she may have been on her way to Texas to see the girl’s father at the time of the crash.