Unsealed Records From the Las Vegas Massacre

Las Vegas

On Jan. 30, 2018, search warrants records from the Las Vegas massacre that occurred on Oct. 1, 2017, were unsealed.

The records were released after the Associated Press and other media organization sued to have court records and autopsy reports unsealed. Las Vegas judges ordered the search warrants and autopsy reports to be released. There were ongoing questions the media wanted to answer for the people.

Judge Elissa Cadish issued a written order to “release documents showing what investigators told judges to obtain search warrants.”

Additionally, Judge Timothy Williams ordered the Clark County coroner to release Paddock’s autopsy records, as well as the people killed in the gunfire with the names of the victims redacted.

Coroner John Fudenberg stated that the records were private. County attorneys did not respond immediately to questions about whether Fedenberg could appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court. However, lawyers agree the records of the autopsy should remain confidential and only released to the families and the police investigating the shooting.

Attorney Margaret McLetchie represented the Associated Press and the Las Vegas Review-Journal in the case and she stated, “All records are public unless the law says otherwise.” Nevada law does not directly address autopsies, however, a person who is deceased has no legal right to privacy.

The unsealed records revealed that in the first hours after the mass shooting there were two people identified by the FBI as persons of interest besides Stephen Paddock.

Those names were redacted from the files released to the Associated Press. However, the Las Vegas Review-Journal identified one person as Douglas Haig from police documents.

The other person of interest was Marilou Danley, Paddock’s girlfriend. At the time of the mass shooting she was in the Philippines and is cooperating with the investigation. She is not likely to face any charges, according to authorities involved with the investigation.

Originally, police stated that an unnamed person could face charges in the mass shooting that killed 58 people and injured over 800 more on the Las Vegas Strip.

Other parts of the records were redacted, and the judge agreed it could affect the ongoing investigation focused on the unnamed person and the evidence discovered when the warrants were served.

On Jan. 19, Sheriff Joe Lombardo released a preliminary report that stated the FBI and police believe Paddock acted alone before committing suicide. The report stated that Paddock was a 64-year-old retired accountant with a millionaire fortune. He was a high-stakes poker player on a losing streak. “He was obsessed with cleanliness, may have been bipolar, and what having difficulties with his live-in girlfriend.”

The report, however, did not say why Paddock had 23 assault-style weapons and fired out of the hotel window for 10 minutes into the crowd of 22,000 people attending an outdoor concert on the Las Vegas Strip.

By Jeanette Smith

Sources:

ABC 8 News: ‘Person of interest’ redacted from Vegas shooting records
CNN: Las Vegas shooting documents include second person of interest

Image Courtesy of Thomas Hawk’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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