Tag Archives: previous criminal history

Update: Details Revealed About Evidence, Previous Arrests of Las Vegas Ex-Cop Finally Charged in 1997 Rape and Murder

Previous Charges Arthur Lee Sewall Former LVMPD Officer Murder

At a preliminary hearing, court documents revealed LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall already had a criminal history before the 1997 rape and murder he was finally charged with in January.

Last week, I wrote about former Metro Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr., who was charged with murder and rape for the 1997 killing of a woman named Nadia Iverson. The original story was that a “lack of funding” prevented the testing of the Iverson’s rape kit and other DNA evidence from the crime scene. Presumably, that made it impossible to prosecute him at the time from a lack of evidence.

After receiving a grant from the New York District Attorney’s Office, the rape kit was finally sent for testing in 2016. Then, in February of 2017, Sewall’s DNA was positively matched to that rape kit. As a result, Officer Sewall was finally charged with rape and murder earlier this month (Jan. 10th).

A sample of Sewall’s DNA had actually been available since 1999, when he was sentenced to (just) probation for a separate arrest on multiple on duty sex crimes, and he was accused by prosecutors of Iverson’s murder the very same day her body was found. Once again though, since they couldn’t scrape together the cash to test that one rape kit, Sewall was able to avoid prosecution for twenty-plus years.

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When he was eventually arrested  last month Sewall essentially confessed to the murder of Iverson in a statement to Metro detectives. Although, in a quote published by Mike Shoro of the Las Vegas Review Journal it does sound like he is looking to claim it was an accident:

“During the interview, he admitted to engaging Iverson in sex for money,” Sewall’s arrest warrant said. “During their sexual encounter, Iverson was shot. Sewall couldn’t account for why his gun was out or pointed at Iverson. He knew she was shot in the head and he immediately fled the scene.”

A Previous History of Violence Against Women

However, like most cases of crimes and misconduct committed by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers, it has now come out after the fact that the real story is quite a bit different than what was originally reported. Not only did court documents reveal even more details about his arrest history that predated the murder, but it also raises serious questions about why he couldn’t have been prosecuted even without the DNA evidence.

Rape Murder Charges Las Vegas Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall

Former LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr.

Those documents, which were made public at a preliminary hearing last week, also show that Metro police officers had responded to a domestic violence call at Sewall’s house in 1995, two years prior to the murder. Although he (not surprisingly) was never charged with a crime as a result, a .357 revolver was confiscated from Sewall by those officers.

As I mentioned in the original post, Officer Sewall was also arrested earlier in 1997 in a video sting operation for forcing prostitutes to perform sex acts. He was on duty and used the threat of arrest in those sexual assaults. That arrest led to his resignation from the LVMPD.

In addition, although he was only sentenced to probation for those rapes, that sentence is what required him to submit a DNA sample in 1999. As was once again mentioned in the previous post, Sewall also was arrested while he was awaiting sentencing in 1999 for propositioning an undercover cop who was posing as a prostitute in San Diego.

Sufficient Evidence Twenty Years Ago?

Based on those court documents, that .357 revolver and those previous arrests would have represented a pretty significant piece of evidence in the 1997 case for which Sewall currently faces charges. In fact, had it been pursued that alone probably would have been more than enough to tie him to the murder and secure a conviction.

Las Vegas Police Officer Arthur Sewall Murder Rape Victim Nadia Iverson

An Undated Photo of Nadia Iverson.

Back then, before Clark County’s “Blue Card” law was overturned, all handguns had to be registered with Metro. As a result, Sewall’s was officially listed as an owner of such a weapon. Obviously, there was also a record of that from when he had it impounded during his domestic violence incident as well.

According to the current arrest warrant detectives at the time determined a bullet “consistent with a .357 revolver Sewall previously registered with Metro” was used to kill Iverson. In spite of that, Las Vegas police seemingly did not even attempt to match the bullet to the gun they knew Sewall had at the time.

Not only that, but when Sewall was arrested for soliciting a prostitute in San Diego while he was already awaiting sentencing for raping prostitutes, he had that same revolver in his possession. Meanwhile, neither the LVMPD or Clark County prosecutors mad any effort to acquire the gun they obviously suspected he had used to murder someone after it was confiscated by San Diego police.

Instead, Sewall was sentenced to probation and that revolver was later destroyed by the SDPD, eliminating any chance it could be tested for a ballistics match. Officer Sewall proceeded to violate that probation numerous times over the course of the next five years with relatively little consequences for those violations. Also, as can be evidenced by his Facebook profile, Sewall was living a pretty comfortable life during the twenty years Iverson’s rape and murder went unpunished.

Incompetence or an Intentional Lack of Effort?

As has already been pointed out in previous posts, the excuse that there was a lack of funds is a ridiculous excuse for not testing the thousands of rape kits that have sat untouched in evidence rooms from as long ago as the mid-eighties. Las Vegas area city governments and police departments have had no problem coming up with well over a billion dollars in total for new government buildings, publicly funded NFL stadiums, and faulty radio systems.

They even came up with $400,000 to pay off the police chief and deputy chief at the Henderson Police Department after they were forced to resign for sexual harassment. The idea that they couldn’t somehow come up with enough money to test that one rape kit that would positively identify the person they suspected in the case literally from day one should be considered an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

But even if you disregard the DNA evidence altogether, they shouldn’t have had a very difficult time charging and even convicting Sewall. Detectives investigating the crime scene had already determined she was killed by a gun matching one they knew for a fact he owned.

The fact he had it impounded by the San Diego police during his 1999 arrest obviously means he still had it in 1997 after the murder. They very easily could have gotten a warrant to have it tested right after the murder or while it was in the possession of the San Diego police.

Regardless of any other evidence (which I’m sure there was), matching the gun to crime would by itself be pretty damning. A prostitute being raped and then killed using a gun owned by someone with a history of sexual assault and violence against women (and in particular prostitutes) would be pretty hard to explain away.

Instead of presenting (or apparently even seeking) that evidence however, investigators just filed it away along with the rape kit that they don’t seem to have had any interest in ever having processed. At best, this would have to be classified as a huge case of incompetence by the Las Vegas police and prosecutors.

In fact, it’s almost like they intentionally tried to avoid prosecuting one of their own by making sure the evidence didn’t get found. Almost exactly like that.

Original Local News Report

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Two Good Cops Suspended For Failing to Report Bad Apple Choking Handcuffed Man in Waco

Last week, two Good Cops that had responded to a call for backup stood by while the Bad Apple who had called them choked a handcuffed suspect. Then they inadvertently forgot to mention that in their police reports.

Qualon Deshon Weaver, the man who was choked while being arrested after hurting Officer George Neville’s delicate feels by repeating an insult that had been directed at him originally, was also denied medical care after the choking incident.

Unfortunately for them, it was all caught on a dash cam, although that footage has not been released yet. As a result, all three police officers have been suspended amid an internal “investigation” into whose wrist should be slapped and how hard.

Via KWTX.com:

Three patrol officers were suspended after the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office previewed dashcam video of the arrest and determined that one of the officers grabbed the suspect, Qualon Deshon Weaver, 35, by the neck, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said in a press release Friday.

Street Crimes Unit Officers Kevin Spicer, Adam Beseda and George Neville were all placed on administrative leave pending the completion of internal and criminal investigations…

Spicer and Beseda stopped Qualon Deshon Weaver, 35, for a traffic violation on May 4 near the intersection of J.J. Flewellen and Herring Avenue, but arrested him on evading arrest and marijuana possession charges, Swanton said.

Neville and a second officer responded to assist after Weaver pulled to a stop about 550 feet from Rapoport Academy Elementary School.

“Mr. Weaver was handcuffed, and during his arrest, Officer Neville grabbed Mr. Weaver around his neck,” Swanton said.

Weaver, who’s free on bond, told KWTX earlier this week he was shown the video on Monday by Internal Affairs officers.

“I saw them choking me hard,” he said.

He told KWTX one of the officers choked him after an exchange of words.

“He called me a dumbass so I called him a dumbass back, so he started choking me,” he said.

Weaver has a lengthy criminal record, but his attorney, Jason Darling of Waco, says the treatment his client received was unwarranted.

“You’re still innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

“You still have your constitutional rights even if you have a previous criminal history,” he said.

“Law enforcement has to follow the rules and procedures.”

Qualon Deshon Weaver Waco PD ChokedAfter previewing the dashcam video on June 9, the District Attorney’s Office contacted the Waco Police Department, which immediately launched an internal investigation and determined a separate criminal investigation was warranted, Swanton said.

Neville and Beseda were placed on administrative leave the same day.

Spicer was placed on leave on June 16 based on information discovered as the internal investigation progressed, Swanton said.

It shouldn’t be hard to figure out that someone wasn’t a threat and didn’t need to be choked whiled handcuffed. Not that this “investigation” is likely to turn out any different than the vast majority do.

You can pretty much count on the fact that the paid vacation these police officers have been given will likely be the harshest penalty they receive by the time all is said and done.

**Update** In October 2016, Officer Neville was indicted on charges of official oppression and assault, both are only misdemeanors.