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Bail denied for suspect in unprovoked fatal stabbing of homeless man

A judge denied bail on Tuesday for a 26-year-old man accused of fatally stabbing a homeless man in what officials said was an unprovoked attack.

James Vaughn has been charged with murder with a deadly weapon in connection with the fatal stabbing of Benjamin Orleans on Nov. 5 near the 2700 block of East Cedar Avenue in east Las Vegas

Orleans was fixing a bike tire when Vaughn rode up on a bicycle and stabbed the 40-year-old in the chest “without any prompting or any provocation,” prosecutor John Giordani said during Tuesday’s hearing.

At least one witness saw the stabbing, and another person identified Vaughn as the attacker, Giordani said.

Orleans was five blocks from his mother’s house when he was killed, his father told the Review-Journal this week.

Vaughn had previously been convicted for a string of gas stations robberies where he pointed a gun toward at least one person, Giordani said. He was placed on parole for that conviction in September 2020.

Defense attorney Kenneth Frizzell told Justice of the Peace Amy Chelini that there are “some gray areas” regarding which witnesses actually saw the stabbing. Frizzell asked Vaughn to be placed on a $50,000 bail, which Chelini denied.

“You’re not going anywhere right now,” she told Vaughn before denying the bail.

Orleans father, Larry Orleans, said his son dreamed of working in hospitality.

Benjamin Orleans played hockey throughout high school in his hometown of Highland Park, Illinois. After a brief time living in Florida with his three children, he moved to Las Vegas for a fresh start with his mother, Larry Orleans said.

After his arrival, Benjamin Orleans joined a cycling club and rode up to 300 miles a week, his father said.

“Last time I talked to him he had a job in construction redoing apartments,” Larry Orleans said. “It’s a life taken way too soon.”

Cheleni on Tuesday ordered Vaughn to appear in court again on Dec. 15.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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