The teenage burn victim charged last month in the fatal shooting of a man whose body was found ditched in the Las Vegas desert allegedly had help from his uncle.
Michael Miller, 19, was charged on Sept. 24 for the shooting death of Raul Salazar, 47, identified as the young man’s live-in landlord who was aiming to evict him and his family, according to The Las Vegas Review-Journal, which cited a police report.
Michael's 48-year-old uncle, Joseph Miller, told Las Vegas Metropolitan Police detectives his nephew spoke to him on Sept. 19 in a panicked phone call to explain how he shot and killed Salazar, the report claims.
The young man had suffered permanent burns to his face, loss of both feet, and one hand in a 2003 apartment fire when he was 3 years old, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
The blaze was believed to be caused by kids messing with a cigarette lighter, and also claimed the life of Michael's 4-year-old cousin.
In his uncle’s account to authorities, Michael said he was crawling to retrieve his prosthetics when Salazar, who had recently given Michael an eviction notice, pinned the young man in the hallway of the house, according to The Las Vegas Sun.
Michael then claimed he felt threatened so he drew a gun and opened fire on the landlord, the uncle told police.
Joseph said he went to Miller’s home and found Salazar’s gunshot-riddled body, and told police the two "considered staging the house to look like a home invasion,” according to The Las Vegas Sun, citing the report.
The uncle and nephew allegedly scrapped that plan and instead zipped Salazar’s corpse in a sleeping bag and drove to the desert to dispose of it.
A search team discovered Salazar’s corpse on the early morning of Sept. 20 wrapped in a sleeping bag along a remote patch of desert near State Route 147, according to a police release.
Joseph was taken into custody on charges for harboring, concealing and aiding a felony offender, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Michael is being held in the same lockup.
A preliminary hearing for the young man's murder case has been set for Oct. 15.