LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Las Vegas 15-year-old made an initial court appearance as an adult Friday to face a felony murder charge that could get him life in prison in the shooting death of his 18-year-old brother while their mother looked on.
Turner Craig Bronson stood in shackles while Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Pro Tem Kurt Harris appointed a public defender to represent him and scheduled a preliminary hearing June 23.
Bronson’s attorney, Amy Feliciano, said outside court that Bronson plans to plead not guilty in the May 22 slaying of Clayton Wesley Bronson at their home in southwest Las Vegas. Feliciano wouldn’t speak about specifics of the case.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said he hoped the preliminary hearing would shed light on family conflicts that police say apparently led the younger brother to wound his older brother in the stomach and then shoot him in the head.
“What could have caused a 15-year-old to be so angry at with his brother?” Wolfson asked. “These are all questions hopefully we’ll get answers to as the case goes on. It’s just terrible what this obviously troubled individual has done to kill a family.”
Wolfson noted that his family said in Clayton “Clay” Bronson’s newspaper obituary that he was about to graduate from Sierra Vista High School, where he was on the debate team, and planned to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to study computer science and robotics.
The older brother was described as an achiever: riding bicycles with friends from Las Vegas through Death Valley National Park to the ocean at Santa Monica, California; traveling with the People to People Student Ambassador program in Greece, Italy and France; becoming a second-degree black belt in taekwondo; teaching Sunday school at Good Samaritan Lutheran Church.
He was a regular blood donor, and became an organ donor after his death, the obituary said.
Their mother, Wendy Bronson, told police that Clayton and Turner had been arguing during recent months about Turner’s future plans, and that Clayton kept telling Turner to “get his life together.”
The mother said that hours before the shooting she told Turner Bronson that he would be going the next day to a wilderness camp in Texas, but he said he didn’t want to go, a police arrest report said. Wendy Bronson said she didn’t know there was a gun in the house.
Wendy Bronson told police she heard the two teens arguing before she heard a gunshot and found her older son in an upstairs hallway, wounded in the stomach.
Clayton Bronson walked downstairs, and as she was dialing 911, Wendy Bronson told police Turner Bronson walked up to his brother and shot him in the head.
Turner Bronson put the gun, a small black revolver, behind some couch pillows, walked around the house and eventually sat in a living room chair until police arrived, the mother said.
Turner wouldn’t tell them what happened, police said.
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