Updated December 3, 2021 - 1:35 pm
Rayven Thomas walked out a Las Vegas courtroom sighing with relief. Months of harassment from an ex-boyfriend who shot her after she broke up with him had come to an end.
“Now I get to start my first day knowing he’s never going to text me,” she said. “He’s not going to call me. He’s not going to come by my place. … That’s a good feeling.”
Thomas, a 26-year-old schoolteacher, had just watched Wednesday as District Judge Ronald Israel sentenced her ex-boyfriend, Leroy Mack, 50, to up to five years in prison.
The woman started dating Mack off and on about three years ago. While Thomas traveled the world playing professional basketball, she let Mack live in her east Las Vegas apartment.
She warned him in March that she would be returning to Las Vegas in three months and wanted to end the relationship. But in the early hours of July 9, she found him sitting in her car.
Mack wanted her back, but Thomas denied his advances. While the two were fighting, Mack pulled out a gun.
Thomas took off, sprinting through her apartment complex. She didn’t know if he was following her, or what he would do if he caught her. A few moments later, police said, Mack fired one shot and struck Thomas.
“As I laid in the hospital bed, I was just in disbelief how a person you think you know, you really don’t know,” she said in an interview last month. “It’s hard to really believe that someone is capable of shooting you if they say that they love you.”
Six weeks later, her ex-boyfriend was back at her door, this time convinced that she had another man in her apartment. Thomas told police that Mack kicked down her door, and she was alone. Luckily, Thomas said, her 4-year-old son wasn’t with her that night.
Mack was arrested, and police said he declined to answer any questions. He was released on $50,000 bail the next day.
Thomas obtained a restraining order, but since Aug. 24, she has faced a laundry list of terrifying encounters she said Mack put her through. He showed up at her work, left flowers at her sister’s door, texted and called her from nearly a dozen different phone numbers and “made his presence known,” in all sorts of ways, she said.
A month before the sentencing hearing, Thomas said she would only begin to feel safe again if her abuser went to prison. He pleaded guilty to battery resulting in substantial bodily harm. Thomas expressed dissatisfaction that his initial charges of attempted murder and home invasion were downgraded.
In court Wednesday, Thomas sobbed while she told the judge how she’s had to alter her life to avoid Mack, including leaving her job, moving apartments and enrolling her son in a different school.
“Every time I turn around I have to make sure he’s not watching me, he’s not following my car,” Thomas said, crying. “I can’t live in my own home.”
Her mother, Regina Shorter, asked Israel for the maximum sentence of five years because of Mack’s criminal history.
“We don’t want someone else’s daughter to have to go through the same thing that my daughter went through,” she said. “The buck stops here. It has to stop here.”
Israel counted off seven previous violent crimes Mack was charged with, including a 1994 battery and a 1995 attempted murder case in Clark County District Court. Las Vegas Justice Court records show that Mack pleaded guilty to battery in 2009 and was found guilty of domestic battery in 2018.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Hagar Trippiedi cited the prior charges, and the attempted murder case he was charged with while on probation, as reasons for prison time.
“This defendant deserves not a day less than the maximum sentence,” she said. “Who knows what other woman he could meet in the future that he could do this to?”
In a three-minute speech prior to being sentenced, Mack said he felt sympathy for the victims in the case. He retold the narrative, while admitting his guilt.
“I’m guilty of doing the act,” he said. “I’m guilty of the crime that I did. … I was wrong. I acted emotionally.”
Thomas is still seeking $5,000 in restitution. She hopes the money will cover some of her medical bills she faced in the month it took to physically recover from being shot.