Las Vegas Defendant Accused of Fatally Slashing Homeless Now Suspect in Earlier Case
The man already facing charges for the stabbing of four homeless people — two of them fatally — is now under investigation for a similar case near the UNLV campus.
On Monday, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) homicide detectives named Christopher Stephen Martell, 33, a suspect in the death of Jeffrey Philip Pridgen, 43, the Associated Press reported.
Pridgen’s fatal stabbing on South Escondido Street took place on February 15, 2022. It was later ruled a homicide. The man died after wounds to the head, neck and torso. He too was homeless.
Martell later was arrested on September 21 for other stabbings all taking place in the week starting on September 14 near UNLV.
Other victims in September’s knifings are Jody Devries, 57, and Mary Susan Miller, 74. These two victims died.
The location of the stabbings is a few miles away from the Las Vegas Strip. Harry Reid International Airport is relatively close.
Given the latest case, Martell now faces three counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and a single count of battery, KLAS, a local TV station, reported, citing police sources.
Police did not say if he was a suspect in still other similar cases.
Incompetent To Stand Trial
In November, Martell was found mentally incompetent to stand trial on the prior charges. He continues to be held at the Clark County Detention Center.
No bail was set. He was first booked at the jail on September 22.
Martell could have faced the death penalty or many decades in prison if his case had moved forward and he was found guilty.
Because he was ruled incompetent to stand trial, he is unable to understand the charges against him. It also means he could not assist his lawyer in preparing a defense.
He soon will be reassigned to Lake’s Crossing Center in Sparks, Nevada, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. It is a maximum-security psychiatric facility.
He will undergo counseling and treatment there.
Later, he could once again be evaluated by mental health professionals for competency. If he is found to be competent in the future, he could face trials for the stabbings.
Prior Competency Ruling
Last month, another defendant, Yoni Barrios, 32, was ruled to be mentally incompetent to stand trial.
He was accused in the October 6 slashing of eight people, two of whom died. The stabbings took place near the Wynn Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip.
He apparently asked some showgirl impersonators to take their photo posing with a large knife. They refused and Barrios began stabbing people in the area.
Barrios initially faced two charges of murder with a deadly weapon and six counts of attempted murder with a deadly weapon.
Barrios also was identified as a Guatemalan national who somehow snuck into the US, Fox News reported, based on information from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).