ONLY ON FOX5: Meet the Clark County prosecutors in charge of putting the most violent killers behind bars

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 10:05 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - For the first time, the Clark County District Attorney’s homicide team sits down with a Las Vegas news outlet.

FOX5 asked them something many of you have asked us and their answer may leave you cold.

“You know, one of the complaints I hear from viewers is how some of these people get out on bail. The bail is too low or there is no bail at all,” FOX5 anchor John Huck tells the team.

“We absolutely share that frustration. And I think a lot of the public would be surprised to know how many murder defendants are arrested for homicide and within three days are in front of a judge and granted a very low bail, and they’re back on the streets in the same community that they just victimized,” said John Giordani, a chief deputy district attorney.

The men and women who prosecute the most violent crimes in Clark County say a series of laws passed last legislative session is making it too easy for those offenders to get back on the streets.

“Like they don’t even set bail, they just put them on house arrest and then they subsequently go out and commit homicide. I have one who was charged with sexually molesting a small child and was given a terribly low bail setting immediately out of house arrest. And then while wearing a monitor he and his son beat someone to death while his ankle monitors pinging,” said Christopher Hamner another chief deputy district attorney.

Michelle Fleck is also part of the district attorney’s homicide team.

“I have another case. Michelle and I have one with a man who was charged with molesting his daughter. He was given house arrest and while he’s on house arrest, he murders his wife,” Hamner added.

“Let me tell you, there are people dying in this community because of bail reform. There are people that are dead today that wouldn’t be if not for that statute. There’s nobody that can dispute it and there’s no doubt about it,” chief deputy DA Mark Digiacomo said. “At this point in time it’s certainly more dangerous in Nevada than it was pre-2019,″ Digiacomo continued.

Another chief deputy DA, Giancarlo Pesci, said “it needs to swing the other way or other people in our community are going to be hurt.”

It’s not just low bail that’s challenging prosecutors. Murder rates are up and so are caseloads. Each member is on 15 to 60 active cases, oftentimes facing well-funded defense attorneys.

“How do you level the playing field or can you level the field?” Huck asked. “Well look, facts make cases. I’m not a big believer that just because you have a lot of money, you’re going to get the best defense,” Digiacomo replied.

“There was a period of time last summer where we had a bunch of lawyers in a trial at the same time and we got 5 first-degree murder jury verdicts in 7 days. That’s impressive,” Digiacomo added.

Not only are there more cases, but oftentimes they’re more complex. Requiring prosecutors to comb through gigabytes of digital evidence not to mention DNA evidence.

Their boss, District Attorney Steve Wolfson says despite the caseload there’s no pressure to settle.

“The pressure is getting justice done. In other words, they’re not going to resolve the case for less than it’s worth just to move it. Every case has its own identity. Every case has its own value or worth. Okay, so they’re not going to move a case just because they have other cases coming in. They’re going to do what needs to be done on an individual case. And if it increases their caseload. So be it,” Wolfson explained.

Wolfson says no one has left the homicide unit unless it was to become a judge. Everyone in the room has at least a decade if not several with the DA’s office.

Their newest member, chief deputy district attorney Danielle Pieper, tells us what it is that keeps her there.

“As an attorney who tries cases, this is the level that you want to be at. This is the highest level that there is in criminal law,” Pieper said.


Some of the cases do exact a toll on the prosecutors. On FOX5 News at 10 Thursday night, we sit down with several of them who handled headline-making cases in the valley. What they took away from it and what about those cases still haunt them.