Man pleads not guilty in Las Vegas strip club shooting
LAS VEGAS -- The lawyer for the man accused of shooting three people after a strip club melee involving NFL player Adam Jones alleged Tuesday that Jones "completely fabricated" the story that led to the man's arrest.
"This entire case rests upon the statement of Adam 'Pacman' Jones," lawyer Jeffrey Segal told the judge who heard Arvin Kenti Edwards plead not guilty to charges that could put him in prison for the rest of his life.
"Pacman Jones' story is completely fabricated," Segal said outside court.
Clark County District Court Judge Valorie Vega set trial for March 2 and bail at $2 million. Segal said he intends to file a request for a lower bail amount.
In court, Segal told the judge that police arrested the wrong man based on the word of a troubled sports figure whose account of an NBA All-Star weekend melee inside the Minxx strip club and the shooting outside couldn't be trusted.
Segal said Jones refused to cooperate with investigators after the Feb. 19, 2007, shooting, then identified Edwards "after making a deal with the state where felony charges were dismissed so that he could get himself reinstated with the NFL."
"Nine months later, he comes forward with this story about how Mr. Edwards did this," Segal said, "after the state agreed not to prosecute him for these attempted murders."
Police said Jones, a 24-year-old cornerback who was traded from the Tennessee Titans to the Dallas Cowboys this summer, "instigated" a brawl inside the club by showering strippers on stage with dollar bills from a large plastic trash bag.
Jones was charged with two felony counts of coercion stemming from allegations that he threatened to kill club employees and scuffled with a bar bouncer. He was never charged in the shooting.
Segal said Jones, who was suspended by the NFL after repeated run-ins with police in cities around the country, benefited when he was allowed to plead guilty in December in Las Vegas to conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct, a gross misdemeanor. He also promised to testify about the gunman.
Edwards, 29, of Renton, Wash., could face up to 186 years in Nevada state prison if convicted of all seven felony charges against him: three counts of attempted murder, three counts of battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm, and one count of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm.
Prosecutor Victoria Villegas told the judge that Segal was wrong, and that Jones was one of two people to identify Edwards as the shooter.
Jones' lawyer, Robert Langford, said in a telephone interview that he didn't think Segal had seen the full case file.
"I think he needs to look at all the discovery before he goes popping off like that," Langford said.
Villegas said a valet attendant told authorities he was about 3 to 4 feet away from the shooter when gunfire broke out. He also identified Edwards as the shooter, the prosecutor said.
With Jones, who also picked Edwards out of a police lineup in Washington state, "we have two different individuals identifying the defendant," Villegas said.
Edwards is accused of wounding three people, including a club employee who was paralyzed from the waist down.
Jones remains suspended by the NFL but was cleared by commissioner Roger Goodell in June to take part in practices and preseason games.
Goodell has said he won't decide whether to reinstate Jones to play during the regular season until shortly before the Sept. 7 season opener.
Edwards has not been charged in a plot that Las Vegas police have said included telephone calls and demands that Jones pay Edwards $15,000 after the shooting for "services rendered."
Jones told authorities he didn't order the shooting and declined to pay. But he said he reimbursed a friend after the friend paid the money for him.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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