Witness IDs Walker robbery suspect
LAS VEGAS -- A former co-defendant pointed a shackled hand from the witness stand and identified a former friend Tuesday as the man who robbed and beat a severely intoxicated NFL millionaire in Las Vegas almost two years ago.
Arfat Abdo Fadel, 32, told a jury he was driving his girlfriend's Range Rover while Deshawn Lamont Thomas, 42, choked former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Javon Walker from behind and took Walker's diamond-encrusted platinum watch and necklace and two-carat diamond earrings.
Fadel said the three drove to an abandoned condominium complex about a block from the Las Vegas Strip, where Thomas ordered Walker out of the vehicle, hopped out of the backseat and then got back in the front passenger seat.
"He said he hit him with a two-piece," Fadel said, explaining under questioning by Clark County prosecutor Joshua Tomsheck that he understood that to mean that Thomas punched Walker twice.
"He says, 'Go!'" Fadel testified, adding that in his rearview mirror he could see in the dawn light the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Walker kneeling over the pavement of a vacant parking lot in something like a football stance.
Later that morning, Fadel's girlfriend redeemed two $1,000 poker chips that prosecutors say Walker had in his pocket from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Fadel said. He gave the diamond necklace and one of the earrings to a man in a gas station parking lot. The rest of the jewelry has never been found.
Since the trial began last week, jurors have heard that Walker, now 31 and an unsigned free agent, partied at several nightclubs, was falling-down drunk and tried to get out of a moving vehicle at least once during a drive with friends from the Hard Rock to the Bellagio hotel. He was found unconscious about 7:15 a.m. June 16, 2008, in the parking spot where Fadel said he was left.
Walker, who had signed a lucrative six-year, $55 million contract with an $11 million signing bonus just months before, spent several days in a Las Vegas hospital and underwent surgery to repair broken facial bones and misaligned teeth. The value of the jewelry was put in the tens of millions of dollars.
Thomas, a convicted felon, has pleaded not guilty to charges including first-degree kidnapping, battery with substantial bodily harm and conspiracy. He could face life in prison if found guilty.
Fadel, the prosecution's final witness, pleaded guilty before trial to reduced charges in return for a chance at release from state prison after less than 15 years.
Thomas' lawyer, Betsy Allen, has accused prosecutors of offering a "sweetheart deal" to Fadel to get him to testify against her client.
Outside the presence of the jury, Clark County District Court Judge Douglas Smith on Tuesday limited the length and number of Fadel's jailhouse telephone calls that Allen said she wanted to play to show the jury that Fadel had changed his story to suit prosecutors.
Allen said she wants to show that Fadel pleaded guilty to lessen his jail time.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press