Victim blinded by gunshot testifies at hearing

A man charged with the attempted murder of his daughter’s boyfriend earlier this year will now answer to those charges in District Court after a judge found enough evidence to support the case.

Randall D. Phelps appeared in Pahrump Justice Court Thursday morning for a preliminary hearing on charges of attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon and battery with a deadly weapon following a Feb. 6 incident where he allegedly shot and injured 36-year-old Benjamin Appleby.

Nye County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Phelps’ property, located at 6531 S. Camelot Ct., that evening after Phelps called 911 to report that he shot Appleby.

When officers arrived, they reportedly found Appleby lying in the driveway, bleeding and unresponsive. He had been shot twice, once in the left temple and another time in the abdomen.

Phelps allegedly told police Appleby had been fighting with his daughter that afternoon and that he had “threatened him” so he fired a warning shot and then fired directly at Appleby. Though he was the one who called police to report the shooting, a declaration of arrest in the case notes Phelps was uncooperative with police, continuing to hang up on 911 operators and refusing to comply with deputies’ commands once they arrived on scene.

After being treated at the local hospital for injuries he sustained while allegedly resisting officer’s commands, Phelps was arrested for attempted murder and booked into the Nye County Detention Center.

He later posted bail.

The only witness called to testify was the victim.

Appleby told the court the incident has left him blind and missing a part of his small intestine after it was damaged by the gunshot wound to his abdomen.

“I’ve lost all eyesight due to optic nerves being severed, so I’m blind. Other than that there’s scarring, I don’t have any brain damage and I’m still alive,” he said.

Although Phelps has maintained the shooting was done in self-defense, Appleby testified he wasn’t sure why the other man had shot him.

Appleby told the court he had been at the Camelot Court address spending time with Phelps’ daughter. She then left and as he walked outside to ask why she was leaving, Phelps came out, presumably from his trailer at the rear of the property, and that was when the first shot was fired.

“I saw him about five minutes before I got shot in the front yard. Clytee (Phelps) was walking to the front gate and I stepped out onto the front porch and asked her where she was going and Randy Phelps stepped in between as I was heading to the gate to talk to Clytee and that’s when I got shot in the stomach,” he said. “I took a step back with my right foot and I proceeded to lay on the ground. Randy Phelps was standing in front of me at my feet and Clytee was about 20 yards behind him at the front gate, she started screaming ‘oh my God.’ And I just realized at that moment that I had actually been shot.”

Appleby said he didn’t remember anything that happened after he was shot in the head.

On cross examination, Phelps’ attorney, Tom Gibson, asked Appleby if he and Phelps’ daughter had been arguing that afternoon.

According to police reports, Phelps told officers he heard Appleby and his daughter arguing and had walked out to see what was going on.

That’s when he says he felt Appleby threatened him, that he was forced to shoot him when he continued to “come at him.”

Appleby told the court, however, that he and Clytee had not been arguing.

The man did admit though, when questioned, that he had been drinking that day and had consumed about six shots of vodka prior to the shooting and even wrecked his scooter at about 30 miles per hour that day.

Appleby denied knowing that a blood test done at the hospital allegedly showed a positive indication that he had used meth as well.

Following the man’s testimony, Justice of the Peace Kent Jasperson, ruled that the burden of evidence to support the charges filed against Phelps was met and bound the defendant over to the District Court.

Phelps is scheduled to appear for an arraignment in District Court on Dec. 2.

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