A man will be spending between four and 10 years in prison for a deadly punch at The Strat Hotel, Casino & SkyPod. The victim later passed away.
Michael Saunders was sentenced on Friday by District Judge Tierra Jones for the death last year of a 73-year-old man after the assault in the lobby of Las Vegas casino-hotel, the Las Vegas Review-Journal said. It took place at the check-in line.
Initially, Saunders was charged with battery for the Aug. 27 incident. But the charge was upgraded to murder after the victim died from his injuries, the Review-Journal said. In December, he plead guilty to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter, the report said.
The victim was identified as Thach Nguyen of Springfield, Virginia. The punch led to a bleeding brain. Nguyen passed away on Sept. 8. An autopsy revealed he died from blunt force head trauma.
Apology for Incident
Saunders expressed sorrow over the incident. “It was a mistake. It was a travesty. It shouldn’t have happened,” Saunders told the judge before the sentencing.
The incident began when Saunders heard his fiancee say “stop touching me” and “get away from me,” the Review-Journal said. The woman was speaking to a man behind her in line at the check-in line. Saunders then allegedly punched the victim.
I just want to make very clear that this was not an intentional thing on (Saunders’) behalf,” Las Vegas Deputy Public Defender Lina Oraha said in court, the report said. “He’s very sorry, and it was just a matter of a very bad decision that ended very tragically, not only for the victim but also for him.”
It was also revealed in court that Saunders’ grandfather died on Aug. 26. “Unfortunately, what happened with his grandfather the night before had kind of clouded his judgment,” Oraha said.
The Review-Journal also revealed that Saunders was convicted for domestic battery in 2008, according to court records. That charge stemmed from an incident in Las Vegas.
Five years later, Saunders was convicted on burglary, kidnapping, and robbery charges. He was sentenced to between eight and 20 years for those charges, the Review-Journal said.
The Strat has seen other violent incidents in recent months. In one unrelated incident, an unnamed man jumped to his death in September from the top of The Strat. It was an apparent suicide.
He was a 30-year-old resident of Henderson, Nev., the Review-Journal said. It appeared he landed near a ground-level entranceway close to a sidewalk along Las Vegas Boulevard, according to Vital Vegas.
Metro police did not provide a reason for him jumping.
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