Utah man confesses to fatal stabbing in Nevada
Date:Thursday, January 23 @ 00:00:40 MST
Topic:Front Page

LAS VEGAS -- A Utah man confessed that he stabbed a 3-year-old girl to death with a butcher knife and seriously wounded her 10-year-old sister on Wednesday in a trailer outside a Nevada casino, authorities said.

Beau Santino Maestas, 19, told police he killed Kristyana Cowen and attacked Brittney Bergeron after the girls' mother and her boyfriend argued with him over $125, Mesquite Police Chief Douglas L. Law said Wednesday night.

Law also said Maestas' younger sister was involved in the attack at the CasaBlanca casino-resort RV park, but he provided few other details.

Maestas, his sister and another teenage girl were being held in Nephi. The trio surrendered without incident after Utah troopers stopped their car on Interstate 15 about 260 miles northeast of Mesquite.

Authorities plan to extradite Maestas to Nevada so he can be formally charged with murder and attempted murder, said Lt. Jerry Hafen, a Nevada Department of Public Safety spokesman.

Hafen declined to say if the teenage girls, 16 and 17, would be charged, and he did not identify them.

Hafen said Maestas was a Utah resident but was living in Mesquite at the time of the attack.

The victims were stabbed just before 2 a.m. inside a recreational vehicle trailer at the casino park in Mesquite, a fast-growing desert town near the Utah state line about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The children, their unemployed mother and the woman's boyfriend were living at the CasaBlanca, police said. Hafen said the mother and her boyfriend went inside the casino to get something to eat, leaving the girls alone in the trailer.

Hafen said the couple also played a slot machine, and were confronted by Maestas who demanded they pay him $125. Authorities suspect Maestas' friend had taken $125 from him to repay money she owed the couple.

Hafen said the couple were still in the casino when the girls were attacked.

Mesquite police were called by CasaBlanca security guards, and the first officer to arrive found the 3-year-old girl unconscious in the bloody trailer.

"The 10-year-old said a man knocked on the door and told them that their mommy had been hurt," said Joe Szalay, Mesquite deputy police chief. "When she opened the door, he held his hand over her mouth and started to stab her. That's the last thing she remembers."

The deputy police chief said at least one of the girls was stabbed more than five times.

The 3-year-old was pronounced dead at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where she and her sister were taken by medical helicopter, authorities said.

Hospital spokesman Rick Plummer said the older girl was unconscious in the pediatric intensive care unit. Hafen said the girl is expected to survive.

Szalay declined to identify the girls' mother or the woman's boyfriend. He said they were at University Medical Center, where Plummer said they were declining comment.

Police are searching for the butcher knife along Interstate 15. Hafen said police also were searching Maestas' grandmother's house for evidence, including traces of blood and weapons.

Szalay called the stabbing the worst case he'd seen in 13 years as a police officer. He said witnesses described the attackers and said they drove away in a white 2000 Honda Accord with Nevada license plates.

Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Doug McCleve said Utah troopers spotted the car driving northeast on I-15 near Nephi moments after receiving a bulletin from Mesquite police. They were stopped about 7:45 a.m.

McCleve said Maestas, his girlfriend and his younger sister were being detained at the Juab County jail.

(Personal Note)-I sure hope they Fry this guy and soon. What a Jerk.