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Judge denies bail for suspects in 2 New Year’s Eve killings

The suspects in two killings during attempted robberies on New Year’s Eve have been linked to three other armed robberies in Las Vegas during the same time period.

On Monday, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Harmony Letizia denied bail for Jordan Ruby, 18, and Jesani Carter, 20.

“There is no question that these two defendants are a danger to the community. They admittedly came to town on the busiest weekend of the year to terrorize the community, to terrorize tourists,” Letizia said before making her decision.

They will remain at the Clark County Detention Center on 13 counts, including murder, attempted robbery with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery, according to Justice Court records, which show that 10 of the counts were filed Monday.

During the bail hearing, a trio of Metropolitan Police Department detectives described the suspects’ alleged M.O. Detective Kasey Kirkegard also testified about a recorded phone conversation Ruby had with a woman while at the jail.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo said Ruby told the woman that he was only the getaway driver, not the shooter.

“I wanted to make some money,” the prosecutor quoted him as saying. “I just did it the dumb way.”

In a second phone call, Ruby told the woman that “he came to Las Vegas for the purpose of robbing people on New Year’s,” DiGiacomo said.

Carter, a California resident, denied his involvement in the robberies during a jailhouse interview last week with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Narrating surveillance footage, detectives testified that two men in a silver BMW would drive up to parking structures. Once they spotted a victim, one would get out of the car, threaten that person with a gun and demand their belongings. Four of the crimes were caught on video.

The first of five robberies was reported at the Wynn Las Vegas on the Strip the day before the killings, police said.

A woman there reported that a gunman took her purse and phone, which he gave back after she pleaded with him, police said.

Clarice Yamaguchi, a 66-year-old Hawaii resident, and her husband were walking to the Fashion Show mall on New Year’s Eve when her husband went back to their car to get a mask she had forgotten, Kirkegard said.

A BMW drove by her, and a struggle ensued when the passenger got out and tried to yank her purse, Kirkegard said. A round went off when her husband tried to tackle him, the detective added.

After the killing, authorities allege, the suspects targeted an employee at the Sahara Las Vegas.

A robber tried to take the employee’s backpack, and the victim took off running. He told detectives that he saw the man pointing the gun at him and firing one round, Kirkegard said. Although he was uninjured, the man “patted” himself because he thought he had been shot, the detective added.

The car then was spotted at Palace Station, where a woman was robbed at gunpoint in the garage, Detective Tate Sanborn said. The robber then told the victim “not to say anything” before the BMW driver honked and the man left.

A short time later, gunfire erupted on the floor below.

Hyo Sup Um, 60, died at University Medical Center from a gunshot wound to the back, the Clark County coroner’s office said. His shooting was not caught on video. He was seen gambling on casino surveillance footage, Sanborn said, but his wallet was not found on him after the shooting.

The suspects were arrested the following day in a Strip casino. In the BMW, police found a hooded sweatshirt with distinct lettering that matched the description given by witnesses, as well as checks belonging to the first robbery victim.

Police also recovered a 9 mm Glock with an extended magazine. The casing recovered at the Sahara matched the gun, Kirkegard said.

The suspects are next due in court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 10, court records show.

Carter’s family showed up at the bail hearing but declined to comment.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.