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THE NATION

Girl Killed at Casino; Man Held

January 23, 2003|From Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — A Utah man confessed that he stabbed a 3-year-old girl to death with a butcher knife and seriously wounded her 10-year-old sister Wednesday in a trailer outside a Nevada casino, authorities said.

Beau Santino Maestas, 19, told police that he killed Kristyana Cowen and attacked Brittney Bergeron after the girls' mother and her boyfriend argued with him over $125, Mesquite Police Chief Douglas L. Law said Wednesday night.

Law also said that Maestas' younger sister was involved in the attack at the CasaBlanca casino-resort recreational vehicle park, but he provided few other details.

Maestas, his sister and another teenage girl were being held in Nephi, Utah. The trio surrendered without incident after Utah troopers stopped their car on Interstate 15 about 260 miles northeast of Mesquite.

Authorities plan to extradite Maestas to Nevada so he can be formally charged with murder and attempted murder, said Lt. Jerry Hafen, a Nevada Department of Public Safety spokesman.

Hafen declined to say whether the teenage girls, 16 and 17, would be charged, and he did not identify them.

Hafen said Maestas was a Utah resident but was living in Mesquite at the time of the attack.

The victims were stabbed just before 2 a.m. inside a recreational vehicle trailer at the casino park in Mesquite, a fast-growing desert town near the Arizona state line about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The children, their unemployed mother and the woman's boyfriend were living at the CasaBlanca, police said.

Hafen said the couple were still in the casino when the girls were attacked.

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