LAS VEGAS – A Washington man was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for opening fire in a 2007 melee at a Las Vegas strip club that also involved professional football player Adam "Pacman" Jones, court records show.
Arvin Kenti Edwards of Renton, Wash., was sentenced Thursday for a shooting that wounded two people and paralyzed another. Edwards, 32, was identified by Jones in a police lineup after the shooting. Police argued that Jones met with Edwards after the NFL player was ejected from the Minxx strip club following a brawl. Edwards opened fire minutes later.
Edwards pleaded guilty in September to attempted murder in an arrangement that means he didn't admit guilt but acknowledged prosecutors could prove a case against him. He could have faced up to 186 years in Nevada state prison if convicted of the seven felony charges he initially faced, including attempted murder, battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm and being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm.
Edwards could become eligible for probation or released after serving four years, said Tess Driver, an aide to the Clark County district attorney. Edwards has already served roughly three years, and could be released in 2012.
Edwards' lawyer had argued that police arrested the wrong man based on the word of a troubled sports figure whose account of an NBA All-Star weekend fight inside the club and the shooting outside couldn't be trusted.
"We've always been of the opinion that he was not guilty in this case," his lawyer Casey Landis told The Associated Press on Friday. "It's not a deal we wanted to take."
The risk of fighting the case, however, was too high, Landis said.
"I've also seen things go horribly wrong on jury trials," Landis said. "If we lose the trial he is probably looking at 30, 40 years minimum."
Landis also complained that prosecutors were too soft on Jones.
"They treated him with more respect than I've seen most people get," Landis said. "The evidence in the case was pretty clear that whoever the shooter was, Mr. Jones was affiliated with him."
Jones' lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
Police claimed Jones instigated the incident by throwing money onto a stage and then becoming angry when strippers picked up the bills. Jones and his entourage were consequently kicked out of the club. A bouncer, Tommy Urbanski, was left paralyzed from the waist down from the shooting. Urbanski did not return a request for comment Friday.
A co-defendant with Jones, Robert Reid, 31, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct in the shooting. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 25.
Jones, 27, pleaded no contest in December 2007 in Las Vegas to conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, after agreeing to testify in the case. He was sentenced in February to probation and 200 hours of community service under the plea deal. The sentence also required Jones to undergo random drug testing. Jones has denied having a role in the shooting.
Prosecutors are investigating whether Jones violated his probation following his arrest last month in Cincinnati after he allegedly tried to pull away from police after he was accused of shouting profanities in a bar. He faces misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct while intoxicated and resisting arrest. Jones has denied the allegations and his lawyer has said the charges may have to be dropped. If the evidence shows Jones has violated his probation, an arrest warrant will be issued, Driver said.
A spokesman for the Cincinnati prosecutor's office said Friday that the case is ongoing and a pretrial hearing had been scheduled for Aug. 11.
The football player was suspended after the shooting and traded from the Tennessee Titans to the Dallas Cowboys. He is now a cornerback for the Cincinnati Bengals. Team officials said last week that Jones hasn't been able to fully practice because of a neck injury.
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com