- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Las Vegas judge set bail at $100,000 on Wednesday and ordered house arrest for a 25-year-old Las Vegas man who claims the shooting of his friend, an aspiring rapper and former U.S. Marine, in a suite atop a Las Vegas resort last week was an accident.

Jim Edward Johnson plans to plead not guilty and will post bail ahead of his July 1 preliminary hearing in the slaying of Evan Plunkett, 25, defense lawyer William Terry said. “He’s looking forward to the preliminary so we can demonstrate it was an accident,” Terry said.

Plunkett lived in Henderson and rapped under the name “Hollywood Will.”

Police said he was shot once in the chest and died early Friday at University Medical Center.

Las Vegas police said the shooting happened about 9:15 p.m. Thursday, while more than 50 people were at a rap video taping party at a posh penthouse suite at the Fantasy tower of the Palms Casino Resort.

The 9,000-square-foot suite on the 34th floor rents for up to $40,000 a night and is nicknamed the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa after the Playboy founder.

Police said Johnson was with Plunkett, the rapper’s brother, Thomas Plunkett, and others when a scuffle developed near a swimming pool with a commanding view of the lights of the Las Vegas Strip.

A police report described a large amount of marijuana and three handguns on a dining table where Johnson was sitting.

Terry said Johnson blocked the hand of another man who was about to strike Plunkett with a bottle on the pool patio when the gun in Johnson’s hand discharged.

Police said Johnson is seen on security video leaving the suite. Investigators said another witness told them Johnson said he dropped his gun and it went off accidentally.

Johnson surrendered Sunday to police, who reported that Johnson also turned in two legally registered handguns - a 9mm Sig Sauer and a .40-caliber Glock believed to have been used in the shooting.

Police reported finding a .40-caliber shell casing on a swimming pool step at the shooting scene.

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