NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (KLAS) — A man has pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the killing of three people on the same day in 2021.
Tristan Tidwell, 37, took a plea agreement where he accepted guilt, with the stipulation that he is mentally ill, last week. The murders all happened on Labor Day in neighborhoods east of Interstate 15 from Lake Mead Boulevard to just north of Cheyenne Avenue.
Tidwell killed Jorge Godoy-Lua, Oliver Hillman and Michael Myers, records showed. Tidwell told North Las Vegas police he had to “terminate” things “without a home,” according to police records.
According to Tidwell’s arrest report, police were called to the 3000 block of Civic Center Drive reporting someone had been shot and killed. About a half-hour later, police said they received a call to respond to the Silver Nugget Casino for a death investigation. Police said a man was found unresponsive outside the casino on a sidewalk.
Police believe that Tidwell shot a dog in the same area around the same time, the report said. While police were investigating the call about a dog shot, officers responded to a call of an unresponsive man on the sidewalk. The man was unable to be revived.
While officers were at the casino, police received a call for a third murder on Mary Dee Avenue to the north of Cheyenne Avenue. The suspect in question matched the description witnesses had described to police as being involved in the prior cases, they said.
While investigating the third murder, police learned that other officers had detained the suspect, later identified as Tidwell, on North Las Vegas Boulevard. Police searched his belongings and found a gun and a paper towel with blood on it, they said. Police also said they believed Tidwell to be homeless.
During an interview with police, Tidwell told detectives he shot the dog. He also told police he had “to get rid of [the dog] because it did not have a home,” an officer wrote in summary. “Anything without a home gets terminated,” police recalled Tidwell saying.
Police wrote that Tidwell told police “he needed to eliminate someone near the Silver Nugget Casino” because he believed the man to be homeless.
When a detective asked Tidwell about the shooting and killing of the three men, he responded, “It’s against the law, but it has to be done,” police said.
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty. Tidwell agreed to serve as many as three life sentences without the possibility of parole, documents said.
A judge was scheduled to sentence Tidwell in March. Tidwell’s actual sentence will be her decision.
In Nevada, a defendant can plead not guilty; guilty; guilty but mentally ill; or nolo contendere, meaning they accept prosecutors have enough evidence to convince a jury to convict them but they do not admit guilt.