Man sentenced to life in prison in fatal Nevada robbery

February 8, 2020 GMT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A jury has imposed a life sentence on a man convicted of fatally shooting a Las Vegas liquor store clerk during an attempted robbery in 2016.

The jurors decided Friday to sentence Ray Charles Brown, 26, to life in prison with the possibility of parole after he was found guilty on nine counts including murder, armed robbery and kidnapping.

Jurors decided against sentencing Brown to death for the shooting of 24-year-old store clerk Matthew Christensen inside the back room of a Lee’s Discount Liquor.

“I would like to apologize to the Christensens,” Brown said. “I’m sorry. Hopefully one day y’all can find forgiveness in your heart.”

Christensen was shot multiple times after he could not open the safe, authorities said. Christensen was protecting his pregnant co-worker by not telling the suspects she knew the combination, prosecutors said.

Brown was charged with murder, robbery with a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping, burglary while in possession of a firearm, coercion with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

“Very disappointed to not get the maximum sentence of the death penalty,” said Reggie Christensen, Matthew’s older brother. “To hear he was given a chance after all kind of seems like a slap in the face to our family, considering this was all caught on camera, and you can see who it was and what they did.”

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 1.

Two co-defendants in the case have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced for their roles, prosecutors said.

Lee Dominic Sykes, 24, accepted a guilty plea to first-degree murder with a weapon and is serving more than 65 years in state prison.

Lee Murray Sykes, 26, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and robbery and is serving up to 40 years.