Reluctant witness in double homicide recants ID of suspect
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A man who initially described for police a gunman who wounded him in a Las Vegas shooting that left two people dead two years ago now denies knowing his assailant.
Johnny Brooks testified in shackles Wednesday after being arrested in Texas on a warrant and brought to Nevada as a reluctant witness against Durwin Marquaze Allen.
Allen, 34, has pleaded not guilty to charges including attempted murder, conspiracy, battery and robbery with a weapon. If convicted he could face the death penalty.
Prosecutor Danielle Pieper read from a transcript of a recorded interview in which Brooks told police just days after the January 2017 double homicide that Allen was the assailant, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
“I don’t remember faces,” Brooks said Wednesday. “I don’t remember nothing.”
His testimony came after a Nevada state court judge recently postponed trial and ordered Allen released from jail to house arrest because prosecutors said Brooks, their key witness, could not be located.
Brooks, now 29, was shot in the hands in an apartment where Myron Manghum, 33, and Alyssa Velasco, 27, were killed, authorities said.
Another alleged attacker, Terrell Stewart, 34, is in custody awaiting a separate trial.
Brooks, who was arrested last week in New Boston, Texas, spent more than an hour telling Pieper and Allen’s attorney, Peter Christiansen, that he could not recall most details of the encounter, the Review-Journal reported.
But when the prosecutor showed him a photo of blood-spattered apartment walls, Brooks told Judge Michael Villani, “Yes, that’s where I was shot.”
Brooks’ attorney, Robert Draskovich, said Thursday his client never identified Allen in court as the assailant.
Allen is due back in court Feb. 19, when Villani is expected to set a new trial date. The judge ordered Brooks released from custody.