Two Men Who Went to Las Vegas on New Year's Weekend Now Charged With 13 Felonies

After a hearing on Monday, two California men have now been charged with 13 felonies in connection to their time allegedly committing armed robberies leading up to New Year's Eve in Las Vegas.

Justice of the Peace Harmony Letizia also denied a chance on Monday for Jesani Carter, 20, and Jordan Ruby, 18, to be released from jail until their charges progress.

Authorities allege that the two men committed several armed robberies in and around Las Vegas parking garages December 30 and 31, two of which ended in shootings that killed 66-year-old Clarice Yamaguchi and 60-year-old Hyo Sup "Richard" Um.

Letizia refused to release the men, saying they were clearly a danger to their communities, and called them criminal predators. Neither of the men entered a plea to the charges.

Three detectives testified about the circumstances surrounding the December 31 arrests, and a preliminary evidence hearing is set for February 10.

"They came to town on the busiest weekend of the year to terrorize the community, to terrorize tourists," Letizia said.

Yamaguchi, from Waipahu, Hawaii, was shot and killed December 31 in the parking garage near the Fashion Show mall after the two men allegedly stole her purse and her husband fought back, police said.

Hours after that, Um was shot and killed in the Palace Station parking garage. Police said he was seen on security footage gambling in the casino before his death, and a detective testified that Um's wallet was not found on his body.

Las Vegas Robberies Jesani Carter Jordan Ruby
Two men have been charged with 13 felonies in connection to a string of robberies around New Year's Eve in Las Vegas. Above, traffic passes by the famous sign welcoming motorists on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip on November 11, 2005, in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The charges were expanded Monday from an initial three counts to 13 felony counts that include attempted murder, robbery with a weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery. Prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo has said the case may be considered for the death penalty.

Attorneys for Carter and Ruby declined outside court to comment on their behalf or provide their clients' California hometowns. Carter's family members who attended the bail hearing declined to speak with a reporter.

Um's hometown was not immediately known, the Clark County, Nevada, coroner said.

Detectives described security camera images and witnesses who linked Carter and Ruby with a silver BMW sedan with a temporary California license tag seen at armed robberies also at parking structures for the Wynn resort on December 30 and Sahara hotel-casino on December 31.

DiGiacomo alleged that the two defendants "came to Las Vegas for the purpose of robbing people on New Year's."

The judge acknowledged receiving messages from people in Hawaii about Yamaguchi and the bail hearing, but said she left them unread until they could be shared with prosecutors and defense attorneys. The messages were made part of the evidence cache in the case.

Police said Carter and Ruby also tried to rob an employee at the Sahara who said a gunman grabbed his backpack and fired a shot as the employee ran toward an elevator. That man was not hit by gunfire.

Um's killing in the Palace Station parking area came on a different parking level and minutes after a woman was confronted by a man who took her belongings at gunpoint but returned them when she pleaded to be able to keep her phone and identification, Detective Tate Sanborn testified.

Carter and Ruby were arrested after parking a silver BMW sedan with a temporary California license tag at the Bally's Las Vegas hotel-casino.

Sanborn said a search of the vehicle found a Glock 9 mm handgun with an extended magazine clip and checks belonging to a woman who had been robbed at gunpoint at the Wynn a day earlier. The gun matched a bullet casing found at the Sahara, Sanborn said.

DiGiacomo also played for the judge an audio clip from a jailhouse telephone call in which Ruby allegedly told a woman he was "the driver, not the shooter" and that he "wanted to make some money (but) just did it the dumb way."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.