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Ex-casino worker gets 38 years in Vegas picnic killing case

November 22, 2019 GMT
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Anthony Wrobel reads a statement before being sentenced at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. Wrobel, a former employee of The Venetian, pled guilty to one count of first-degree murder in the April 2018 slaying of Venetian executive Mia Banks, and one count of attempted murder in the shooting of Hector Rodriguez, who was seriously wounded. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
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Anthony Wrobel reads a statement before being sentenced at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. Wrobel, a former employee of The Venetian, pled guilty to one count of first-degree murder in the April 2018 slaying of Venetian executive Mia Banks, and one count of attempted murder in the shooting of Hector Rodriguez, who was seriously wounded. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former Las Vegas Strip casino card dealer was sentenced Thursday to at least 38 years in state prison for shooting one supervisor dead and badly wounding another in a planned attack at a company picnic in April 2018.

Anthony Wrobel, 44, was sentenced following a court hearing so emotional the judge choked back tears.

The daughters of slain Venetian casino executive Mia Banks described their anguish at losing their mother, and co-worker Hector Rodriguez said he was still undergoing surgeries for complications from abdominal wounds.

Rodriguez dismissed an apology from Wrobel and a detailed presentation by court-appointed defense attorney Joseph Abood about the possible effects on Wrobel of his lifetime battle with Type 1 diabetes, which requires daily injections to control blood sugar levels, and autism that was not diagnosed until after his arrest.

“There are no sorrys. There are no apologies. There are no medical conditions that give someone the opportunity to execute another human being,” Rodriguez said. “Every day I see the scars of that event ... an act of deliberate hatred and evil.”

“I know nothing I say today is going to take away all the pain I’ve caused,” Wrobel had told Clark County District Court Judge Douglas Herndon in asking for “an opportunity to earn my way out of prison in the future.”

Abood presented published medical articles suggesting that diabetes can cause brain damage and psychological effects ranging from delirium to psychosis.

The courtroom full of Venetian and Palazzo employees was silent as Angela Lee, 28, and Rachel Lee, 21, sobbed and read written statements about missing their mother.

Rachel Lee invoked her Christian faith, told Wrobel she forgave him, but asked Herndon to impose the maximum possible sentence.

“It only seems fair,” she said. “My sister and I have been serving a sentence of life without our mom.”

The judge imposed more than the 30-years-to-life that court officials recommended, but less than a possible 44-years-to-life that Wrobel could have received.

Wrobel avoided trial by pleading guilty in September to murder and attempted murder, each with a sentence enhancement for use of a weapon.

Police said Wrobel acted alone in the shooting and left a note at his home expressing anger at Venetian management.

He asked co-workers at a public park in Las Vegas where company executives were seated, and fumbled with a 9 mm handgun before opening fire, according to a police report.

“It was close to a double homicide,” prosecutor Pamela Weckerly said Thursday. “Had there been other bosses there, he would have shot them as well.”

Wrobel fled the park in a black and purple Dodge Charger that authorities found at McCarran International Airport.

He switched to a silver Cadillac that he drove north to Cedar City, Utah, where police said he stole a Utah license plate from another vehicle.

He was arrested in Texas by a sheriff’s deputy who noticed the Utah plate and found Wrobel sleeping in the Cadillac at a highway rest area off Interstate 40, close to the New Mexico state line.