Lawyer: Vegas shooting suspect feared for his life

Defense attorney says his client did get death threats

(CNN) – The 19-year-old man accused of killing a Las Vegas woman outside her house made his first court appearance Monday. Erich Milton Nowsch did not enter a plea during the brief hearing.

The husband of the victim says the shooting happened after a road rage incident, but one of Nowsch’s attorneys doubts that even happened, and says it was the teen who was afraid for his life.

When Erich Nowsch walked into the courtroom, Robert Meyers was right there to there to look into the eyes of the teenager charged with killing his wife and mother of four.

“I’ll be here every court date that’s going on.”

The Meyers have said a lot about what happened the day Tammy Meyers was killed; the case initially billed as a road rage incident with a stranger that turned deadly. But then it turned out the victim and suspect knew one another, a fact the family knew but police say only found out the day of the arrest.

Robert Meyers told CNN he didn’t think it was worth mentioning to police because they did not suspect Nowsch was directly involved until the day he was arrested. Now for the first time, we hear a few details of the shooting suspect’s side of this story. His attorney, Conrad Claus, sat down with us.

Reporter: “Was this is a case of road rage?”

Claus: “We can say with some confidence there was no road rage.”

Reporter: “Can you tell me anything about what he’s saying happened?”

Claus: “What we know is that a story kept changing, that it was an illogical story, there’s a sequence of illogical and untruthful stories that come out one after another that just lead you to the inescapable conclusion that you cannot depend on what the Meyers family is saying occurred that night.”

The Meyers family says it is the defendant who is lying, not them. Police are still investigating the case, the prosecution says this is not a simple case, but a case of murder nonetheless.

“You know, I don’t want to get into the specifics because it would take me about 30 minutes. It is not a straightforward case. It is not a garden-variety run of the mill case. We all know there are certain nuances to this case. But at the end of the day, this young man is charged with a senseless, stupid act of murder and we intend to prove it in court.”

Reporter: “Are you going to say that this is self-defense? Is Erich Nowsch going to say I was defending myself?”

Claus: “Yes.”

Reporter: “Which indicates he was there, he was in that car at some point. Did he indicate he was afraid for his life?”

Claus: “Yes he was afraid for his life.”

He claims Tammy’s son Brandon Meyers pointed a gun at him before anyone started shooting. Robert Meyers did admit to going over to the suspect’s house the day before he was arrested but says he nor his son threatened anyone.

Defense attorney Conrad Claus says his client did get death threats and argues the Meyers’ story that appears in the police report doesn’t add up.

Claus: “What I’m saying is that for one reason or another, according to Brandon Meyers, Tammy Myers asked Brandon to forego calling the police and to go out with her to look for somebody, somebody that we now know they knew was Erich Nowsch. We know that later, after the police were questioning Brandon as to why they went out looking for Erich, that the reason that he supplied after the fact, after his mother was dead and there was gunplay involved, that was started because they went out looking for Erich, the story they’re providing after the fact is because of this fake road rage situation. There will come a time when we are going to be a bit better prepared to present an evidence-based version of these events.”

A preliminary hearing was set for March 10th, during which investigators will reveal more of the evidence and a judge will determine whether the case should go forward. However, the District Attorney has issued a notice that his office may go to a grand jury instead of a preliminary hearing.

The defense says such a move would indicate something weak about the prosecutors’ case.

Copyright 2015 CNN

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