September 5 marks the anniversary of the murder of Andrea Lafon, who was apparently killed over the price of a bag of pot. Authorities have not charged anyone with the slaying. Police arrested a 16-year old, but released him. I-Team reporter Glen Meek spoke with that teen, who says he’s still under a cloud, because the killer is still at large.
On March 6th, friends and family of Andrea Lafon held a vigil for the 20-year-old murder victim. 181 candles burned for the number of days that passed without charges in the case.
“That’s why we did it here,” her friend Arlene Rubio said. “So many people can see that, living in this area, someone still died. And, that killer is still out there. He can be living right next door to you, and it’s like if you know something, speak up. Do you really want a killer out there?”
If another vigil takes place September 5, they would need 365 candles. One year has passed since Lafon was killed. She was shot to death in her car – apparently in a dispute over the price of a bag of marijuana.
Police initially arrested 16-year old Patrick Harper, but later released him after his defense team introduced surveillance video of Harper from a nearby convenience store. The video shows Harper buying a soft drink, miles away from the crime scene and minutes before it was reported.
“We put a number of eyes on this video, and, at the end of the day, we concluded that Mr. Harper could not have been in two places at the same time,” Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said.
“I’m very angry, because his life has been interrupted, you know, in a situation that he had nothing to do with,” said Harper’s mother Latreavor Henderson.
A year after the killing, Harper has a personal interest in seeing the case solved.
“I’m trying my best to like get over everything, like leave it behind me. Because, I don’t like – I don’t want to think about it anymore,” he said.
Putting the ordeal behind him has been difficult for Harper and his family, because no one else has been arrested. Plus, Harper was never formally cleared by North Las Vegas Police.
“They still have him listed as a suspect,” Henderson said. “We haven’t heard nothing from North Las Vegas. They haven’t apologized or anything like that.”
“I find it troublesome, because I believe – from the documents that we had – that they could tell from the documents in front of them who perpetrated this crime or who was involved in this crime,” said Harper’s attorney Kristina Wildeveld. “Patrick certainly wasn’t one of those people.”
Police reports indicate six teens were involved in the marijuana deal that led to the shooting. Two of them identified Harper as the shooter. One later recanted his story.
Police said they would examine cell phone records from the victim, who may have texted the killer shortly before the murder.
One year after that fatal shooting, no one is custody, and the case remains officially unsolved.
The I-Team reached out to North Las Vegas Police for comment on this story. NLVPD spokesman Aaron Patty would neither clear Harper nor name him as a suspect.
Patty said, “All eyes are not on Harper,” and that North Las Vegas Police agreed with the district attorney’s decision to drop the charges in light of the surveillance video.
Patty says investigators continue to work the case and hope someone will come forward with new information.