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.
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.
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
- Murder Charges Filed Against Former Las Vegas Cop After 1997 Rape Kit is Finally Processed Twenty Years Later
- Las Vegas Cop Charged With Arson And Fraud Not Prosecuted Because Video Evidence “Somehow” Became Corrupted
- Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo (and the Mandalay Bay) Want People to Just “Forget That (Mass Shooting) and Move On”
- Masturbating Janitor Case Exposes Cover-Up of Las Vegas School Cop’s Sex Crimes
- LVMPD Corrections Officer Robert Moore Arrested on “Prostitution Related Crime”
- Tashii Brown Protest: Woman is Attacked by Racist Man With Knife, LVMPD Arrests Those Defending Her
- Las Vegas Metro Police Illegally Search; Sexually Assault Innocent Man to Justify Bullshit Arrest
- How Police “Heroes” Create Hatred And Disdain Within The Communities They “Serve”
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- N. Las Vegas Police Chief Admitted Covering Up for Mayor in Child Porn Investigation
- Nevada CopBlock Founder Arrested While Filming Las Vegas Metro Police
- Not All Robots Support The Police (State)
- LVMPD Caught on Body Camera Admitting They Arrested Man For Singing F*ck The Police
- Game Over for Insert Coins’ and Their Abusive Bouncers
- Las Vegas Detective Gets Off With Probation for Attacking Prostitute After Price Dispute
- Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs: “Stand Up and Tell the Truth” – Why #PoliceLiesMatter
- Maybe Las Vegas Needs a Riot
- Lawsuit Claims Las Vegas Police Officer Pulled Down Woman’s Pants, Exposed Himself On Domestic Call
- Las Vegas Protesters “De-Arrest” Innocent Bicyclist After LVMPD Harassment on May Day
- Las Vegas Metro Cop Joins the Growing List of Police Pedophiles/Rapists
- Four Days in a Las Vegas Jail for Protesting Government Murder by Drones
- Las Vegas, NV Police (and Security/BLM) Brutality Video Compilation #2
- LV Constable John Bonaventura Ordered Cover-Up of Illegal Data Searches
- Metro Police Use of Force Policy Reforms Are A Grand Success
- “25 Feet of Injustice” by Ballentine of the Sunset Activist Collective
- Black Lives Matter Protester Jasmine Abdullah Given Same Sentence For “Lynching” as Stanford Rapist
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- Video: Arkansas Police Beat Fifteen Year Old Who is Clearly Not Resisting Over Marijuana Pipe
- Submit Your Own Story of Police Abuse/Corruption
- Help Wanted! How You Can Become Involved With NVCopBlock
- #FTP – How and Why You Should Always Film The Police
- Press Passes for Independent Media and Freelance Journalists
- How to File a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) Request
- “Let Me See Your I.D.” Stop and Identify Statutes – Know Your Rights
- Know Your Rights Seminar Video by Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs
- Beware of Gang Activity in Your Neighborhood!
- “What Happened in Vegas” Didn’t Stay in Las Vegas; Police Brutality Documentary Premiers at Cinequest
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPD’s Killer Reputation
- Don’t Call the Pigs: An Informal Guide to Alternative Policing Within an Anarchist Justice System
- A Video Compilation of Las Vegas Area Police Brutality
- Donate to the Cause – Help Us Help You Fight The Power
Kelly is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes.
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