18-YEAR-OLD PLEADS NOT GUILTY IN CASINO SLAYING OF 7-YEAR-OLD.
Jeremy Strohmeyer denied in a Los Angeles court Tuesday that he is the same fugitive wanted by Las Vegas authorities for the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl in a Las Vegas casino.
The 18-year-old's not-guilty plea sets up an identity hearing June 13 when law enforcement officials will be asked to prove that Strohmeyer is indeed the man accused of the crime.
Las Vegas authorities want to extradite the Long Beach man to Clark County so he can be tried for the May 25 strangulation slaying of Sherrice Iverson of South Los Angeles.
During Tuesday's hearing Strohmeyer's attorney, Leslie Abramson, asked that photographers be barred from shooting images of her or her client. Abramson told the judge that he received death threats while at the Orange County jail and the Los Angeles County jail, where he now remains without bail.
Further, she argued, photos should be barred because the identity of Iverson's attacker remains at issue, despite the release of grainy videotape that police say shows Strohmeyer following the little girl in the casino arcade area.
``A view of that videotape does not establish that that's Mr. Strohmeyer,'' she said, who gained national prominence by representing the Menendez brothers in two trials.
Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Michael Kellogg agreed to Abramson's request.
Abramson told the judge that she also has received death threats, and she asserted that Las Vegas police have been feeding media interest, thereby interfering with Strohmeyer's rights to a fair trial.
At one point Abramson implied that Las Vegas police and prosecutors have leaked information to the media, and she asked the judge to issue a gag order preventing them from discussing the case.
``We know what they've been up to,'' Abramson said of the Vegas detectives. ``They should use some restraint.''
Later on Tuesday, Abramson withdrew the request. ``The only effect of that order would be to keep me quiet,'' she said.
Abramson referred in court to televised news reports of an affidavit that said Strohmeyer had confessed to kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing the girl.
In the affidavit filed in Goodsprings, Nev., Justice Court and obtained by KTNV-TV, Strohmeyer confesses to Las Vegas Metro Police that he was playing hide-and-seek with the girl and the two were throwing spitballs at each other, the affidavit said. While they were playing, the girl threw a ``Caution Wet Floor'' sign at Strohmeyer and hit him with it.
Strohmeyer told police that he became upset, followed her into a restroom and sexually assaulted her with his fingers, the affidavit said. When he heard three women enter the restroom, he sat on the girl ``and put her dangling feet in the toilet water so it would look like someone was using the toilet,'' the affidavit said.
When the women left, Strohmeyer noticed that Sherrice's breathing ``was labored'' and thought she was brain dead, so he tried to break her neck ``like he has seen on TV,'' to prevent her from suffering. Strohmeyer repeated the motion until she was dead.
Her body was found May 25 in a women's restroom at the Primadonna Resort on the Nevada-California state line. Strohmeyer was arrested last week in Long Beach.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Jun 4, 1997|
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