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Nye DA revises initial charge on suspect

The Nye County district attorney’s office has revised a criminal complaint on a Pahrump man who admitted to strangling his roommate to death.

As stated in an April 9 news release, District Attorney Chris Arabia is now charging the suspect, identified as Marco Torres, with first degree murder of a vulnerable person, along with five additional felonies, in the death of Jonathan Piper.

Torres was initially charged with second degree murder following his arrest on April 4.

“Mr. Piper was already suffering from stage four (terminal) cancer and was unable to resist, and so he suffers the final agony of a violent, brutal end at the hands of his caretaker,” Arabia said. “It’s tragic and outrageous, and we will get justice for Mr. Piper. Serious justice.”

As stated in the initial Nye County Sheriff’s Office video news release, emergency dispatchers received a 911 call from Piper, but the call was subsequently disconnected.

“The call was traced to an address on Linda Street in Pahrump,” the release stated. “Deputies responded to that address. A witness advised deputies on scene that they had heard the two occupants of the trailer fighting and yelling prior to the deputies’ arrival.”

Once deputies knocked on the door, Torres, age 57, told them to leave the property.

As deputies eventually forced their way into the residence, they soon discovered Piper’s body, who reportedly sustained visible injuries to his head and face.

He was located in a bedroom of the home.

“Torres told detectives that he and his roommate had begun arguing over a bag of marijuana that his roommate spilled on the floor,” the release noted. “They began to physically fight and Torres’ roommate retreated to the back bedroom to call dispatch. Torres became agitated that his roommate was calling for help, and smashed his phone to the ground.”

The release went on to state that Torres told detectives that he choked his roommate until he stopped breathing.

Aside from the first degree murder charge, Torres also faces open murder (first or second degree), and habitual criminal, all category “A” felonies, home invasion (room), a category “B” felony, battery by strangulation and abuse of a vulnerable person, both category “C” felonies, interruption of a telephone message and injury to property, both gross misdemeanors, according to the complaint.

An arraignment for Torres was held in Pahrump Justice Court, Department B, on April 9.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 4, at 9 a.m.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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