By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS — Prosecutor may seek the death penalty and a jury trial against the man accused of a deadly robbery at a Walgreens store the day after Christmas in which a Fil-Am clerk was killed.
Jin Ackerman, 25, is facing charges of murder, kidnapping, robbery and burglary. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges, but on Thurday, Feb. 5, Clark County court Judge Jennifer Togliatti denied his bid for bail.
Togliatti has set a March 5 meeting to set a 2016 date for Ackerman’s trial. In the meantime, the former Walgreens employee and father of three will be under custody in county jail.
Tom Pitaro, Ackerman’s attorney, had sought his client be set free pending his trial. He argued that Ackerman, a Las Vegas resident all his life, has no criminal record and is not a flight risk.
But in denying bail, the judge gave weight to prosecutors’ argument that evidence of guilt was strong, and the death penalty is being considered.
Ackerman is charged with robbing Walgreens stores at gunpoint Dec. 24 and Dec. 26, and shooting 58-year-old Isnit as many as 11 times in the second robbery.
Evidence against Ackerman include a store receipt and the discovery by police of money believed to have been stolen from the pharmacy.
Police presented security videos showing a man witnesses recognized as Ackerman in the Dec. 24 and Dec. 26 Walgreens robberies.
“There are four different positive identifications of this suspect,” said Prosecutor Michelle Fleck argued during the bail hearing. “The question in this case is not now and will never be whether or not the defendant is guilty.”
“The question is, what is the appropriate penalty,” Fleck said.
According to the prosecutor, the store receipt showed Ackerman bought surgical masks and latex gloves at a Walgreens store just minutes before the alleged robbery.
Police investigation showed that Ackerman robbed the Walgreens pharmacy on Cheyenne Avenue and Durango Drive during the early morning hours. of Dec.26, 2014.
Isnit, who was working the graveyard shift, reportedly knew the robber, who worked at the store before.
Another employee, a female, was forced to open the store’s safe, but was not hurt. Ackerman shot Isnit, “because he knows me,” according to police reports.
Detectives who arrived at the scene found 11 9mm shell casings near Isnit’s body.
Ackerman, who reportedly was fired in another Walgreens store in 2013, took between $5,000 and $7,000 in cash, police reports said.
Death penalty cases in Las Vegas routinely take up to a year to complete.