LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Police have arrested a third suspect in a violent, deadly robbery where a group broke into a man’s home, tied him up, and killed him in 2015, according to an arrest report.
Metro police arrested Claudia Hernandez, 41, in September 2023 for a murder that took place in August 2015.
The robbery and murder
On Aug. 19, 2015, a worker arrived at a home in the 5200 block of Crater Circle to clean his client’s pool. The client was 72-year-old Eugene Elliott.
When the worker arrived, he noticed the garage door was open, but Elliott’s car, a Cadillac sedan, was gone, the report stated. The worker went to the backyard and started working before he noticed a blood trail leading from the pool to the back sliding glass door of the home.
When he looked inside the home, the worker saw Elliott lying naked and covered with blood on the floor near the kitchen. He appeared to be dead.
According to the report, the worker ran to his truck to call the police. He told police that the house “appeared to have been ransacked.”
Medical personnel arrived on the scene and pronounced Elliott dead on the scene. Elliott was shot in his side. His cause of death was later determined to be a gunshot wound to his abdomen and his death was ruled a homicide.
White plastic zip ties were found close to Elliott’s body, suggesting that he was tied up at some point during the robbery. Marks on his wrists confirmed this, according to the report.
The report later stated that Elliot, while naked and bleeding, walked to his neighbor’s house to get help, but when no one answered, he walked back to his home, where he died.
There were no signs of forced entry to the residence, the report stated. Several of Elliott’s belongings were missing, including a laptop, cell phone, his wallet, his car, and “possibly a handgun or two.”
A neighbor told police that on Aug. 18, 2015, he saw a black Ford Expedition in Elliot’s driveway. He saw two people drive away in it at around 11:20 a.m. Moments later, a man he thought was Elliott got into Elliott’s vehicle and drove away, following the Expedition, according to the report.
On Aug. 21, Elliott’s car was found in a parking lot near Denning Street and Aurora Beam Avenue, less than two miles from Elliott’s house. The wheels and tires from the car were missing, the report stated.
“We have more questions than answers at this point,” Metro police Lt. Dan McGrath said shortly after the investigation began over 8 years ago. “We really are pressed to try to solve this as (quickly) as possible and get these people off the streets.”
On Aug. 28, a car thief was arrested and told police that his friend, Donte Murphy, had asked him if he wanted to buy Cadillac rims. The man told police that Murphy told him he stole a Cadillac, took the rims and ditched the car.
Murphy said he had to “hurt the victim’s owner,” the report stated.
A woman told police that a friend, Derek Fox, told her he committed a violent robbery with Murphy and a woman named Claudia Hernandez, according to the report.
Fox told the woman that the victim was an elderly man, Elliott, who was “known to have a nice gun collection.” He told her that the three of them put Elliott in zip ties, but had trouble doing it because he fought back.
During the robbery, Fox told him that he was “going to get shot if he tried to break free.” Fox later shot Elliott somewhere in the chest, the report stated.
On Nov. 7, detectives interviewed Hernandez while she was under arrest for a different crime. She was shown pictures of Fox, Murphy, and Elliot. She identified Fox as her friend and said that Murphy stole from her.
Hernandez told police she had not seen Elliott before and denied any involvement in the robbery and murder.
The first arrests
On Aug. 15, 2016, arrest warrants for Fox and Murphy were obtained for multiple crimes, including the murder and robbery of Eugene Elliott. The two were later arrested, but the investigation into Hernandez’s involvement continued.
Court records show Murphy pleaded guilty to charges of burglary, grand auto larceny and accessory to commit murder in 2017. Judge Douglas Herndon sentenced him to prison for three to seven years. It appeared the parole board granted him parole in 2020.
Fox was charged with the following:
- Conspiracy to commit burglary
- Burglary while in possession of a firearm
- Conspiracy to commit kidnapping
- First-degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon
- Murder with use of a deadly weapon
- Conspiracy to commit robbery
- Robbery with use of a deadly weapon
- Grand larceny auto
He has remained in custody since 2015 and was due to have his trial begin next year, records showed. Fox was serving a prison sentence in another case, records showed.
On Feb. 28, 2023, a latent print recovered from Elliott’s house was identified as Hernandez’s left thumb. The print was inside Elliott’s residence on the door frame of the door to the garage, which confirmed Hernandez was involved in the heist, the report stated.
On Sept. 28, officers stopped a vehicle near Sahara Avenue and Maryland Parkway. The passenger in the vehicle identified herself as Hernandez. She was taken into custody.
Hernandez told police she had nothing to do with the crime and said she “would never hurt an old man.” When confronted with the fingerprint, she said that her memory was so bad, she “may have forgotten what happened eight years ago,” the report stated.
Hernandez was arrested for open murder with a deadly weapon. She was taken to the Clark County Detention Center where she is held without bail. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 5.