Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney, Garrett T. Ogata provides insight and details on the recent incident of a stabbing that occurred in an elevator at The Hotel at Mandaly Bay Casino in Las Vegas.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video surveillance footage of four tourists in an elevator that led to a non-fatal stabbing has to be worth substantially more.
We know what acts were committed from viewing this video, we do not know what was said, but offensive words do not give someone the right to attack someone by kicking and pushing them.
What the video footage shows is that Eric Miller’s wife, Diane Androvich, was verbally engaging the defendants with a smile on her face and then subsequently kicking and pushing the defendant’s on separate occasions before her husband returned to engage the defendants.
Diane Androvich, first kicked one of the defendants off the elevator, which she had no right to do. Someone saying something you do not agree with or like does not give one the right to kick someone, nor does the law give her a free pass.
Diane Androvich, then commits another attack by forcefully pushing one of the defendants while he is getting off the elevator. She then leaves, but returns to grab her husband and then returns once again to get one last kick in against one of the defendants before the door closes. Throughout the attacks against the defendants, the defendants made no physical threats of their own.
Nothing in the surveillance video suggests Diane Androvich was using reasonable force due to a reasonable belief that her kicking and pushing would be necessary to protect her from a reasonable harm. The defendants’ conduct never suggested they were going to attack her or strike her, they always had their hands down.
During this time the defendant who had the knife was backed into the corner of the elevator not physically engaging anyone, but then the husband, Eric Miller, returns by charging the two defendants who were now cornered in the elevator.
The husband then attacks by unlawfully going after the two defendants. There is no reasonable necessity to return to an elevator that is about to close its doors and attack someone. Defendant, Heredia-Avalos, appears to see Eric Miller’s charge and pulls his knife out while backed into the corner.
Such actions would be reasonable when someone is charging to attack you when you are cornered. It also helps place the attacker on notice that you intend to defend yourself if necessary. One does not lose a self-defense claim because they had their gun or knife in plain view or drawn before someone reaches you to attack you. One using a weapon for self-defense would hope to have their weapon in hand and ready in order to stop the attack against them.
Waiting until you are attacked and then drawing a weapon is extremely risky and not a requirement for self-defense. Heredia-Avalos, having his knife drawn when he sees Eric Miller charge him, should not lose his self-defense claim. That would be like asking a rape victim to wait for the rape to begin, and then have your weapon ready in order to use self-defense. Heredia-Avalos then proceeded to stab Eric Miller when Eric attacked defendant Trent Wilcox and himself.
During this time Trent Wilcox is able to restrain Eric Miller and Heredia-Avalos stops using his knife, which was reasonable because Eric Miller’s attack was neutralized.
It is also important to note that a person using deadly force for self-defense is not required to retreat when they have a right to be present in the location where the force is used and not engaged in conduct in furtherance of criminal activity. Here, the two defendants had every right to ride and be present in the elevator. They were not trespassing or engaging in criminal activity.
It is an unfortunate incident, which lucky, no one lost their life, but actions speak louder than words.
From my experience, I do believe that the defendants have a good self-defense case and luckily, there is a video that shows what really transpired.
For more information on this case or self defense case representation, contact Attorney Garrett T. Ogata a renowned criminal lawyer in Las Vegas, NV, at 702-840-5062 to schedule a consultation for your case.