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Luxor Garage Bomber Gets Life | News

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Luxor Garage Bomber Gets Life

LAS VEGAS -- An illegal immigrant from Nicaragua was sentenced Thursday to life in Nevada prison without parole for killing a hot dog stand vendor with a pipe bomb he built and hid in a coffee cup outside a Las Vegas Strip casino in 2007.

Porfirio Duarte-Herrera's fate had been determined in September, when the Las Vegas jury that convicted him and co-defendant Omar Rueda-Denvers of first-degree murder and other charges chose to spare them the death penalty.

Duarte-Herrera, 29, offered no statement Thursday before Clark County District Court Judge Michael Villani made the jury decision official.

The judge imposed an additional 19 to 50 years for Duarte-Herrera's convictions for attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon and transportation of an explosive device. The judge ran sentences totaling four to 10 years on two felony explosives charges concurrently.

The sentence for Duarte-Herrera, the bombmaker, was longer than for Rueda-Denvers. Villani on Jan. 7 sentenced Rueda-Denvers, 34, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, to life in prison plus 16 to 40 years for attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon. Rueda-Denvers also uses the name Alexander Perez.

His lawyers have filed notice with the Nevada Supreme Court that they will appeal. Duarte-Herrera's attorneys, Clark Patrick and Charles Cano, said Thursday that their client will appeal his conviction and sentence.

Cano called the additional sentence imposed Thursday "redundant." "It seems excessive," the public defender said, "considering he's going to do a life term without parole." Duarte-Herrera did not testify at trial, but apologized and sought leniency from the jury during the death penalty phase of the case.

Prosecutors alleged his friend, Rueda-Denvers, wanted 24-year-old Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio dead because Dorantes Antonio was dating Rueda-Denvers' ex-girlfriend, Caren Chali.

Chali, now 30, was an illegal immigrant from Guatemala and the mother of one of Rueda- Denvers' two daughters. She worked with Dorantes Antonio at a Nathan's hot dog stand at the Luxor hotel-casino, and was nearby but escaped injury when the bomb exploded. Dorantes Antonio immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico.

Prosecutors said Duarte-Herrera built the device from gunpowder and a motion-activated switch, and hid it in a foam 7-Eleven cup set atop Dorantes Antonio's parked car. It detonated when Dorantes Antonio picked it up, killing him with a shard of shrapnel to the forehead.

During the penalty phase of the trial, jurors were told that Duarte-Herrera claimed responsibility for two other bombings in the Las Vegas area -- one detonated by remote control in the desert near Nellis Air Force Base, and one set off by a timer that damaged a pickup truck outside a Home Depot store on Halloween 2006. No one was hurt in either case.

Duarte-Herrera is due to stand trial Oct. 11 in the Home Depot case.  

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

APNP 01-28-10 1029PST


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