LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The trial for two teens accused of murdering 17-year-old Matthew Minkler continued Monday with prosecutors calling their last witnesses.
Minkler was found dead inside a vacant Henderson home last summer. He had been shot in the face.
Jaiden Caruso and Kody Harlan, 16 and 17 years old respectively, at the time of the killing are being tried as adults.
The third suspect in the murder case testified, shedding more light on the actions of the defendants, Caruso and Harlan. The teen also described his role in Minkler’s death last June.
He’s a juvenile in custody so his identity is not being released. He is facing charges of accessory to murder and destroying evidence.
The teen said he showed up to the vacant Henderson home — where other teens had gathered to party — after Minkler was killed.
He testified that Caruso said they needed to move Minkler’s body so the teen helped put Minkler in a closet. The teen also testified that Harlan checked Minkler’s pockets which were turned out when police later found the body.
The teen testified that Caruso initially told him, he didn’t mean to it.
Prosecutor Giancarlo Pesci: “What was the conversation?”
Teen witness: “That Jaiden killed him. That he accidentally killed him.”
Prosecutor Giancarlo Pesci: “So, he said to you it was an accident?”
Teen witness: “Yes.”
Prosecutor Giancarlo Pesci: “Did he continue to say it was an accident or did he change, as far as the way he described it?”
Teen witness: “It changed.”
Prosecutor Giancarlo Pesci: “How did it change?”
Teen witness: “That it wasn’t so much of an accident.”
Henderson police detectives also testified. The department’s computer crimes unit looked through the suspects’ cellphones. That’s where they found graphic Snapchat videos of Minkler’s body.
Police also say Minkler’s phone was in bad shape.
“The front had extensive damage. There was black spray paint all over the screen. It was also cracked and broken, and one of the edges was collapsed in a little, like someone had hit it on a hard object. There were burn marks on the phone,” said Detective Jared Spangler, Henderson Police Department.
The state rested Monday and the trial will resume Tuesday at noon. The defense is expected to call one witness to testify. After that, the court will wrap up with closing arguments.