Alleged ringleader pleads guilty : Danny Shaw pleads guilty to a lesser charge
CARSON CITY – The alleged ringleader of a beating that left a capital city man dead at the hands of his friends pleaded guilty to a lesser charge on Monday.
Danny Shaw, 21, entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon and kidnapping.
In exchange for the plea, charges of principal to open murder, principal to battery with the use of a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit a crime were dismissed.
He faces at least 20 years in prison when sentenced July 14.
Shaw told Judge Michael Griffin he didn’t know Adam Wells, 20, was dead, when he and co-defendant Tyler Cruz, 24, bound him with 85 feet of rope, beat him with bats, and dumped his body in the hills of East Carson City in October.
“Mr. Shaw accepted responsibility for what occurred in the case, and he was in fact the individual who cooperated fully with the police,” said defense attorney Scott Freeman. “He is extremely remorseful. Not a day goes by that he does not think about his friend.”
According to police records, Shaw and Wells struck up a friendship in sixth grade at Carson Middle School and remained friends over the years.
Shaw told investigators that on Oct. 5, the day Wells was killed, he allegedly caught Wells on videotape stealing a safe from his bedroom. As retaliation for that suspected breach of trust, Shaw recruited the help of Cruz and Juan Cervantes to confront Wells on the theft.
After luring Wells to his home, Shaw emerged from a back room and struck him with a bat. He then allegedly held him at gunpoint while Cruz tied Wells up and Cervantes looked on. District Attorney Noel Waters alleges Cruz and Shaw then dragged Wells’ body to the garage, where they continued to beat him into unconsciousness. According to the autopsy report, Wells died of strangulation coupled with the beating.
“Danny knows that he set the wheels in motion, which ended in Adam’s death,” said Freeman.
Under Nevada sentencing guidelines, the murder charge could carry a penalty of 10 years to life or 10 to 25 years, and the kidnapping charge carries a penalty of five to 15 years or five years to life. The murder sentence is doubled by the deadly weapon enhancement.
Shaw potentially faces a definite term of 25 to 65 years or 25 years to life in prison.
Cruz, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, will be sentenced June 2.
Cervantes, 21, is expected to plead May 30 to battery with a deadly weapon, which carries a penalty of two to 10 years in prison.
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