LAS VEGAS (AP) — A judge sentenced a former Cirque du Soleil performer to 10 years to life in prison on Wednesday in the killing and dismemberment of his ex-girlfriend, saying the defendant had revived the tempestuous relationship with the dancer to feed his own narcissism.
Judge Kathleen Delaney gave Jason Omar Griffith, 35, the maximum sentence for his second-degree murder conviction in spite of defense arguments that victim Deborah Flores Narvaez was volatile and Griffith had reported her to police 14 times to little avail.
“The responsibility for this toxic and ultimately tragic relationship continuing as long as it did was entirely yours,” Delaney said. “The only reason I can see was to satisfy your own narcissistic predisposition.”
Police said Griffith grabbed Flores, a dancer in the racy “Fantasy” revue at Luxor, by the neck during a fight on Dec. 12, 2010. He testified that he thought she was reaching for a gun in her purse and he restrained her until she died, then panicked and asked his roommate to help dispose of the body.
The disappearance of the victim drew intense attention for almost a month before Griffith’s housemate, Louis Colombo, led police to her dismembered remains in tubs of concrete in a vacant downtown house.
Prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo called it a “very brutal, brutal crime and aftermath” and said the family of the victims would serve a life sentence of sorts without her.
Flores’ tearful family members asked the judge for the maximum sentence, saying they will never spend a holiday with her, take her phone calls or see where her dancing career could have led.
Celeste Flores, sister of the victim, said it hurt to think that Griffith would “wake up every day and see the light of the sun” and enjoy other small things in life.
Griffith’s lawyers promised to appeal the conviction to the Nevada Supreme Court, saying evidence that would have painted Flores as aggressive was not admitted at trial.
Griffith will be eligible for parole in a little more than six years, after receiving credit for 1,294 days already served.
“That’s going to give him quite a bit of hope,” defense attorney Jeff Banks said.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)