I-Team: Uncle accused of helping nephew target jackpot winner, leading to Las Vegas Dotty's manager's murder

8 News Now
I-Team: Uncle accused of helping nephew target jackpot winner, leading to Las Vegas Dotty's manager's murder
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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The man accused of running over a manager at a Dotty’s casino, killing her, and who had targeted a customer who had won several jackpots during the day, was tipped off by his uncle who was also inside the business, investigators wrote in documents obtained Tuesday by the 8 News Now I-Team.

Samuel Schmid, 28, faces charges of murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, and battery, records showed. Police identified Schmid as the suspect in 60-year-old Alicia Gibellina’s murder earlier this month. Gibellina, the casino’s manager, was killed on May 11 when she ran after Schmid, who stole a customer’s purse, police said.

Police arrested James Holmes, 54, on charges of open murder, robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery last week. In court documents, Holmes identifies himself as Schmid’s uncle, police said. In his arrest report, police said Holmes and his girlfriend, who is Schmid’s aunt, are “in a long-term dating relationship.”

Police believe Schmid entered the casino, gambled for a few minutes, and then ran off with the purse of a woman who had won about $30,000 throughout the day, they wrote in an arrest report.

Video obtained by the 8 News Now I-Team a day after the murder shows a woman, believed to be Gibellina, running after the man to his car, which was parked right outside the front door. The manager then confronts him as he gets into a car. Police said the man pulled a handgun, causing the woman to back away from the car toward its rear.

Police said Holmes had communicated via Facebook Messager with Schmid while inside the casino about the jackpot winner.

“In the conversation, Holmes indicated he had catalytic converters to sell and needed assistance,” police wrote in an arrest report. “Schmid told Holmes he was staying at a La Quinta and needed money.”

Around 5:30 p.m. on the day of the murder, Holmes messaged Schmid, describing a woman in a black sweater and black pants who was “at the machine,” police said. Holmes described the woman as being white and “very skinny.”

“It was apparent Holmes was describing [the victim], who Samuel Schmid robbed moments after messaging with James Holmes,” police wrote in an arrest report.

Police reviewed Dotty’s players’ cards from that day, discovering a James Holmes was in the casino at the time, they said. Video also showed Holmes sitting two machines away from the theft victim. Surveillance also appeared to show Holmes looking at the victim and then looking down at his phone and typing as if messaging Schmid.

Holmes left with a different female customer, Debra Herreman, who police determined was Schmid’s aunt, nine minutes before Schmid arrived at the casino around 6 p.m., police said.

Police reviewed a video from the incident, which showed a stolen Mercedes GL 550 SUV parking in a handicapped spot. Schmid then gets out of the car and enters the casino, they said. Schmid then returned to the car several minutes later as if he were looking for an item, they said, then went back inside.

When speaking with witnesses, one person said they found the couple suspicious “due to them not gambling and staring at [the theft victim],” police said.

The stolen Mercedes SUV was found on May 20 near Edna Avenue and Decatur Boulevard — less than 300 feet from Herreman’s home, police said.

While speaking with police, Holmes said Schmid returned to the home “in a panic” after the murder. Holmes then drove Schmid to an apartment complex, Schmid gave him $900 “and told Holmes that was his ‘finders fee.'” Holmes then returned to the home, removed items from the stolen car, and put them in a truck, police said.

Before Schmid left town, he paid Holmes an additional $200. Police later found him in California.

“Holmes acknowledged had he not alerted Schmid to [the victim’s] winnings, the robbery would have never occurred and Gibellina would likely be alive.”

Schmid’s case was continued until June 2. Both men were being held without bail.

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