Convicted Felon Charged With Circus Circus Murder Headed Towards Trial, Judge Dismisses Police Tampering Claim

Posted on: July 18, 2019, 12:23h. 

Last updated on: July 18, 2019, 12:23h.

The man charged with murdering two tourists at Circus Circus will see his case continue after a local judge ruled that police didn’t act inappropriately in leading a grand jury to indict him.

Circus Circus Las Vegas murder
A man accused of two murders at Circus Circus won’t have his case dismissed. (Image: LVMPD/MGM/

Julius Trotter, a convicted felon who pleaded guilty last year to evading arrest, is charged with the June 2018 stabbing deaths of two Vietnamese tour guides at the Circus Circus casino.

Police allege he routinely walked hallways pushing doors until he found one open. In the early morning hours of June 1, law enforcement contend that he made entry into a room where Sang Boi Nghia and Khuong Ba Le Nguyen were staying.

Housekeepers found the two dead that afternoon. Surveillance video placed Trotter on the floor at the time of the incident, and it showed him exiting the Strip resort with Nguyen’s backpack over his shoulder.

He was arrested after a high-speed chase in Chino, California, roughly one week after the slayings.

Dismissal Request Denied

Attorneys for Trotter argued that police coerced his girlfriend into providing a narrative to support their evidence that he was indeed the person who entered the hotel room and committed the gruesome acts.

Lawyer Lisa Rasmussen said Trotter wasn’t a thief, but was known to purchase stolen goods such as Nguyen’s backpack. She stated that the grand jury that indicted her client on murder charges wasn’t told that he claimed to police that he never entered the Circus Circus guestroom, but bought the backpack from someone else.

Trotter told officers that a man he knew only by the first name of Jason had given him the backpack. Clark County District Court Judge Michelle Leavitt didn’t buy it.

Trotter is facing five felony charges, including two for murder with use of a deadly weapon. He’s pleaded not guilty, and is due in court in October, with a jury trial scheduled to begin March 3, 2020. He faces the death penalty.

Trotter is currently in prison on the evading arrest conviction.

Las Vegas Security

An investigation found that the door to the room Nghia and Nguyen were staying didn’t properly latch, thus allowing Trotter to allegedly gain entry.

Property parent company MGM Resorts said in a statement, “As part of our protocol, Circus Circus security was patrolling the floor where the incident took place that evening, as they do for each floor in the resort every day.”

The casino company continued, “It is standard operating procedure for security to check every door to ensure it is latched securely. We have no record of this door being unlocked, unlatched, or malfunctioning that evening before the attack took place.”

The resort has 3,773 occupancies.

Casinos are some of the most secure businesses in the world, but Las Vegas has been criticized in recent years for its guest protection shortcomings. Earlier this month, Metro Police admitted it didn’t have a specific policy in place to respond to a mass-casualty event when the October 1, 2017, shooting occurred.