LAS VEGAS – A judge ruled Wednesday that a couple charged with killing a neighbor whose body was found outside in a box will be jailed without bond until an evidentiary hearing.
Anthony Stiger and Melanie Costantini, both 20, said nothing Wednesday during their appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court, where a judge accepted not guilty pleas on their behalf.
They were arrested Nov. 14 in Southern California after the body of 58-year-old Harold Myles Shilberg was found Nov. 9 outside an apartment building on East Fremont Street in Las Vegas. His body had multiple cuts.
Authorities said a bloody saw and clothing were found in the apartment of the suspects.
The judge scheduled a preliminary hearing for Dec. 19 on felony murder and conspiracy charges that could carry the death penalty if they are convicted.
Prosecutor Pam Weckerly said outside court that a decision had not been made about whether the Clark County district attorney would seek the death penalty.
Public defenders Dan Silverstein, representing Stiger, and David Schieck, representing Costantini, declined comment about the case.
Police said the couple was videotaped at a rental store in Las Vegas buying a garment-sized box like the one in which Shilberg was found.
Stiger claimed self-defense in a jailhouse interview with ABC affiliate KTNV-TV in Las Vegas.
Police Officer Laura Meltzer said Wednesday that Stiger declined an interview request by The Associated Press.
He told KTNV he and Costantini are married and have a 2-year-old daughter, they moved from Houston to Las Vegas in August, and he worked as a maintenance man for Shilberg at the apartment complex in a transient neighborhood a few blocks east of downtown Las Vegas.
Stiger said he and Shilberg argued about needed repairs at the complex, and that Stiger approached him with an electric saw.
The two men fought in the bathroom of Stiger's apartment, according to Stiger, before Shilberg's neck was sliced by the saw. Shilberg died in the bathtub, Stiger said.
Stiger told KTNV that someone else moved Shilberg's body, and that he and Costantini went to the Los Angeles area to drop off their daughter with his mother.