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The 5 Most Shocking Murder Cases at Las Vegas Hotels and Casinos

The new Oxygen series Sin City Murders highlights homicides that have left indelible marks on the Strip and other Las Vegas areas. 

By Joe Dziemianowicz

Las Vegas is a playground for gambling, live entertainment, and dining. It’s a place that's game for anything, but it can also be murder.

How to Watch

Watch Sin City Murders on Oxygen Sundays at 7/6c and next day on Peacock. 

The city has the 13th-highest homicide rate problem in the U.S, according to a 2023 study cited by local Fox-affiliated station KVVU-TV.

The new Oxygen series Sin City Murders — premiering Sunday, February 25 at 7 p.m. ET/PT — covers some of the region's most unsettling homicides throughout Vegas, including those with ties to the desert, the Strip and surrounding areas.

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Since the hospitality industry looms large in Las Vegas, a number of slayings have taken place at casinos, hotels, and in the parking lots or on the grounds of these properties.

Before the series debuts, find out more about five homicide cases that have left indelible marks on the Strip. 

Killer Car Bomb at the Luxor

Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio, 24, was a hard-working hot dog vendor at the Luxor Las Vegas. On May 7, 2007, he was killed in the hotel and casino’s parking garage when a car bomb atop his vehicle exploded, NBC News reported. His girlfriend, Caren Chali, was nearby but unharmed, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

An outside view of The Luxor Hotel And Casino in Las Vegas

Investigators considered terrorism, but determined the motive was personal. They narrowed the case down to two suspects — including one who'd had a personal relationship with Chali. But what was the motive — and was this pair behind the fatal explosion?

Find out how investigators pieced together the puzzle to catch the killers on Sin City Murders.

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Deadly Beating at the Imperial Palace

On the night of December 8, 1997, Donald Idiens, a land developer and avid card player from Canada, was playing poker at the Mirage hotel and casino.

Idiens left the table but was set to return, having left money on it. He never came back to the game. His partially clad body was found the next morning by housekeeping in a 17th floor fire escape landing at the Imperial Palace hotel. He died from a head injury, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

Detectives noticed red flags with an individual who was in debt to loan sharks for gambling. The man had admitted meeting Idiens at the Mirage. But was he the same person who killed him? Find out on Sin City Murders how witness statements, surveillance footage, and DNA evidence led Vegas investigators to the killer.

Las Vegas

Shot and Dismembered at Tuscany Suites

When Everilda “Evie” Watson traveled from Ontario, California to Las Vegas on July 11, 2006, she believed her husband had made arrangements to celebrate her recent 50th birthday in Sin City. She was dead wrong — and never seen alive again.

Investigators determined that her spouse, John Watson, a former math teacher, shot and dismembered his wife in a hotel room at Tuscany Suites & Casino. His motive? He didnt want her to get half his familys estate in a divorce.

Prosecutors said that he had been coordinating the homicide for a month. The plan included fake IDs, disguises, and renting one hotel room at Circus Circus and another at Tuscany Suites. One was his regular room, the other to kill his wife, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

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As detectives worked the case, the victim’s blood was found in a bathroom drain and in John’s vehicle. Surveillance footage caught John buying an electric saw. Investigators concluded that he shot his wife to death before cutting up her body and disposing of it across the desert. 

Watson was found guilty by a jury in less than two hours. In 2010, he was sentenced to death. In 2019, a Las Vegas judge overturned his conviction, granting him a new trial, according to the Associated Press. Nevada Department of Corrections records reviewed by Oxygen.com in February of 2024 show that Watson is currently incarcerated at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center.

An outside view of Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas

Double Homicide after Planet Hollywood Dispute

Melissa Mendoza and Jennifer Chicas, 27-year-old best friends in Northern California, did everything together. Tragically, on February 19, 2016, they were murdered together.

The double homicide occurred after a dispute broke out in the Miracle Mile Shops parking garage at Planet Hollywood Resort, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

In Vegas for a family celebration, the women were with Chicas’ brother-in-law, Jerraud Jackson. He had gotten into an argument with Omar Talley, who was seen on security footage pointing a gun at the trio’s car.

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Jackson testified that Mendoza was behind the wheel. As she drove out of the garage, they were fired upon. Mendoza and Chicas died from gunshots to their chest. Jackson was wounded but survived.  

In January of 2024, Talley was found guilty of the murders. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after a judge admonished him for his lack of remorse, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Mandalay Bay Massacre

On October 1, 2017, the Route 91 Harvest music festival was going strong in Las Vegas. An estimated 22,000 people had gathered for the celebration. As singer Jason Aldean wrapped his sixth song on the last day of the fest, tragedy struck as a hail of bullets filled the air.

Stephen Paddock, 64, a high-stakes gambler, opened fire from his nearby Mandalay Bay hotel room onto the festival crowd. He continued shooting for 11 minutes, NPR reported, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds of others. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.  

Paddock, the son of a bank robber once on the FBI’s most wanted list, took his own life before law enforcement could catch him. The FBI found no single or clear motivating factor to explain why Paddock carried out the shooting, the Associated Press reported in 2019.

It was all about doing the maximum amount of damage and him obtaining some form of infamy,” Aaron Rouse, the agent in charge of the FBIs Las Vegas office, told the AP.

A subsequent report indicated that Paddock’s motive may have been tied to his resentment over how he and other high rollers were treated by casinos, CNN reported.

Watch Sin City Murders at 7 p.m. ET/PT Sundays on Oxygen.