LAS VEGAS (AP) — The son of a taxi driver killed in a spectacular fiery crash following a vehicle-to-vehicle shooting on the Las Vegas Strip has filed a lawsuit seeking monetary damages from the self-described pimp arrested in Los Angeles as a fugitive in the case.
A civil negligence lawsuit filed in Nevada state court seeks at least $20,000 in damages from Ammar Harris on behalf of cab driver Michael Boldon's 37-year-old son, Michael A. Boldon, and his estate.
"What we're trying to do is get some answers," attorney Lawrence Smith said Thursday.
Harris was arrested Feb. 28 in an apartment in the Studio City area of Los Angeles, a week after the pre-dawn Feb. 21 crash. He had been the focus of a multi-state manhunt after authorities in Las Vegas alleged he was driving a black Range Rover SUV and shot into a Maserati sports car, mortally wounding the driver, Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr.
The Maserati crashed into a taxi that exploded into flames, killing the elder Bolden, 62, of Las Vegas, and passenger Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, 48, of Maple Valley, Wash.
In addition to holding Harris responsible for the shooting and crash, Smith said he wants to use the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Clark County District Court to learn why the taxi caught fire, whether Cherry helped provoke the attack and whether Boldon and Sutton-Wasmund could have survived if there had been no fire.
Cherry, 27, a self-promoted rapper who used the name Kenny Clutch, exchanged words with Harris in the valet area of a Strip resort hotel before the shooting. Police found no gun in the Maserati and no evidence that Cherry returned fire in the attack.
"Cherry's role isn't clear at this point," Smith said. "Either way, to fire a weapon on the Las Vegas Strip is as stupid as you can be."
Cherry's father, lawyers and Asmayit Tekle Hagos, the mother of the youngest of Cherry's three children, have denied allegations that Cherry was involved in prostitution. At a Feb. 23 news conference, Hagos identified herself only as May and said she lived in California.
But Hagos' arrest Monday in Las Vegas on a probation violation stemming from a prostitution-related grand theft arrest in 2011 cast a shadow on those testimonials. Hagos, 22, is being held at the Clark County jail in Las Vegas pending a March 18 court hearing.
Hagos' attorney, Vicki Greco, also represented Cherry and now handles Cherry's business affairs.
Greco acknowledged Thursday that Hagos has several misdemeanor trespassing convictions in Las Vegas stemming from prostitution-related arrests and pleaded guilty in October 2011 to a reduced felony charge of attempted grand larceny. Hagos was sentenced to four years of probation in that case, and ordered not to work as an escort or outcall dancer.
In all, six cars were involved in the Feb. 21 crash, and five other people, including a passenger in the Maserati, received injuries that authorities described as not life-threatening.
Harris' extradition hearing is March 14 in Los Angeles, where he was represented by a public defender at a first court appearance March 4. It was not clear if he had a lawyer in Las Vegas.
Records show Harris was convicted in South Carolina in 2004 of felony possession with intent to sell a stolen pistol and convicted that same year in Atlanta of a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge. He was arrested last year in Las Vegas in a 2010 prostitution case using the name Ammar Asim Faruq Harris. Court records show that case was dismissed last June.
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