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Not guilty plea made in shooting that blinded man

A man charged with shooting his daughter’s boyfriend earlier this year pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted murder in the case this week in District Court.

Randall Phelps, 69, appeared in District Court Monday morning to be arraigned on charges of attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon and battery with a deadly weapon resulting from a Feb. 6 incident where he allegedly shot and injured 36-year-old Benjamin Appleby.

According to police reports from the day of the incident, Nye County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Phelps’ property at 6531 S. Camelot Ct., after the older man called 911 to report that he had shot Appleby.

When officers arrived, they reportedly found Appleby lying in the driveway, bleeding and unresponsive, with two gunshot wounds, one to the temple and another to the abdomen.

At the time, Phelps allegedly told police Appleby had been fighting with his daughter and that he had “threatened him” so he fired a warning shot and then fired directly at Appleby, striking him.

Appleby was subsequently airlifted from the scene to a Las Vegas area hospital for emergency treatment and Phelps was taken to the local hospital after he allegedly sustained minor injuries while resisting officers.

After he was finished being treated that evening, Phelps was arrested for attempted murder and booked into the Nye County Detention Center on the charge. He was later released from custody after posting bail.

Although Phelps has maintained he shot at the younger man in self-defense, Appleby testified at a preliminary hearing in the case last month he had no idea why Phelps shot him that afternoon.

Appleby told those present at the last hearing in the case in Pahrump Justice Court he now suffers from several serious medical conditions as a result of the incident, including the fact that he is now legally blind.

Following the preliminary hearing, the case was bound over to the District Court for further proceedings after slight or marginal evidence was found to support the charges on file against the defendant.

During the arraignment hearing this week, Phelps pleaded not guilty to all three charges of attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon and battery with a deadly weapon.

A trial date has been set for Aug. 14-15 and Aug. 21-22, 2014. Phelps is scheduled to be back in court on July 7, 2014 for a calendar call in the case as well.

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