Updated May 24, 2022 - 6:00 pm
A 30-year-old man was convicted Tuesday for the second time in the death of a 15-year-old boy who was run over and killed in a robbery over an iPad.
Prosecutors argued at Michael Solid’s retrial that when he took the stand earlier this week, he lied about the events surrounding the death of Marcos Arenas.
“The truth is supposed to set you free. The truth that he sold you is not the truth,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Agnes Botelho told the jury about Solid’s testimony the previous day. “They’re lies, nothing more. Those lies should convict him.”
Jurors on Tuesday found Solid guilty of first-degree murder with a deadly weapon, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Solid first went to trial in August 2016 and was convicted of the same charges. A retrial began last week after the Nevada Supreme Court in 2018 reversed Solid’s conviction due to a structural error in the first jury selection process, court records show.
Marcos, a Las Vegas High School student, was walking near his northwest valley home on May 16, 2013, to pick up food from Chipotle when he encountered Jacob Dismont, who wrenched Marcos’ cherished iPad out of his hands. Prosecutors have said Solid, who was driving a white Ford Explorer, was acting as a lookout and getaway driver during the robbery.
After Dismont took the iPad and jumped into the SUV, Marcos flung himself onto the vehicle, prosecutors have said. The teenager then was dragged, run over and killed.
In 2016, Dismont pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with a deadly weapon, robbery with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery, court records show.
Although Solid did not testify during the 2016 trial, he was questioned for nearly four hours on Monday. He said that before the robbery, he and Dismont drove to a nearby gas station with Solid’s girlfriend and their baby daughter.
The defendant said Dismont went to panhandle nearby, and he claimed he did not know that Dismont was going to commit a robbery. He also said he did not realize the car he was driving had struck and fatally injured Marcos as he “floored it” and sped away from the scene.
During closing arguments on Tuesday, Botelho pointed out contradictions in Solid’s testimony.
Botelho said that while Solid was testifying, he changed his story about where he and Dismont went after the robbery. Solid first said they went to an acquaintance’s house, where Solid claimed Dismont left the stolen iPad. He later claimed Dismont drove Solid to his girlfriend’s home after the robbery.
Prosecutors said the acquaintance, Matthew Nicholas, testified that Solid had called him hours after the robbery, sold him the iPad for $80, and said he was “going to be on the news later.”
Solid was arrested two days after the robbery, and he initially told police that he was not the man driving the SUV. Solid testified Monday that he lied to the police because Dismont had threatened him and his family.
Video that prosecutors played for the jury on Tuesday showed Solid laughing during his police interview when he told investigators he was at the gas station by himself.
“A 15-year-old kid is dead, run over by Michael Solid, and what does he offer police?” Chief Deputy District Attorney Binu Palal said Tuesday. “Lies and laughter.”
Jess Marchese, one of Solid’s defense attorneys, argued that the evidence showing that Solid’s actions amount to murder was “mainly circumstantial.”
Under Nevada law, someone can be found guilty of murder if another person dies while that person is committing certain felonies, including robbery. Marchese said Dismont took Marcos’ iPad during a “crime of opportunity” and didn’t plan the robbery with Solid.
He also argued that Solid should be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter instead of murder.
“Our defense has always has been, and always will be, that this was all Jacob Dismont,” Marchese said. “Back in 2013, Jacob Dismont was the one who destroyed lives.”
Marcos’ friends and family, including his father, Ivan Arenas, gathered outside of the courthouse after the verdict was read. With tears in his eyes, Ivan Arenas said he was relieved the second trial was over, and hopes that he and his family can “finally start healing.”
Ivan Arenas said he believed Solid “hung himself” when he took the stand and gave conflicting testimony.
“Everybody saw through his lies,” he said.
The sentencing phase of the trial is expected to start on Wednesday morning.