- Associated Press - Thursday, April 30, 2015

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Las Vegas mother killed in a neighborhood shootout had a powerful pain medication and a common anti-anxiety muscle relaxant in her system before her organs were donated, according to blood test results cited Thursday by prosecution and defense attorneys.

But neither side agreed what the finding means as they prepare for a May 26 trial for Erich Milton Nowsch Jr. and co-defendant Derrick Andrews in the shooting death of Tammy Meyers.

Autopsy records show the painkiller oxycodone and diazepam, commonly called valium, were found in blood drawn from Meyers at University Medical Center between when the 44-year-old mother of four was shot Feb. 12 and when she died and organs were donated Feb. 14, prosecutor David Stanton said.

Meyers had a prescription for oxycodone, and the amount in her system was within therapeutic limits, Stanton said.

The prosecutor said he was trying to determine if the diazepam was administered at the hospital to preserve Meyers’ life for organ donation.



Defense lawyers Conrad Claus and Augustus Claus said the test results show that Meyers was a drug user.

They said they intend to subpoena Meyers’ medical records.

“I don’t understand why she’d be given valium,” Conrad Claus said, “and I want to see the prescription for oxy.”

Robert Meyers, the dead woman’s husband, said his wife was an organ donor, and he noted that Thursday would have been Tammy Meyers’ 45th birthday.

“She did take her prescribed prescription by her doctor as needed,” Meyers said in an email. “My wife was also given medication at (the) hospital. My wife wasn’t a fan of drugs and alcohol.”

Defense attorney Martin Hart, representing Andrews, said the defense is still awaiting crucial information collected by police in the case, and he didn’t know if a trial date less than a month away remained realistic.

“We don’t have a final report from the investigating detective, and the coroner’s report arrived just this week,” Hart said. “We have a lot of work to do.”

Nowsch, 19, and Andrews, 26, have pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder, firing a weapon from a vehicle and conspiracy charges that could get each life in prison. District Attorney Steve Wolfson decided not to seek the death penalty.

Nowsch pleaded not guilty Thursday to separate battery and child abuse with a weapon charges stemming from allegations that he held a knife to the throat of a 13-year-old boy during a Feb. 15 confrontation that the alleged victim’s sister and two other girls said they witnessed.

Clark County District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti set a June 16 date to schedule a trial in the knife threat case. Nowsch could face up to 16 years in prison if he’s convicted.

In the Meyers slaying, Nowsch is accused of firing a handgun from a car with Andrews at the wheel, fatally wounding Meyers outside her home. Police say Meyers’ adult son, Brandon Meyers, fired three shots in return.

Police and Meyers family members first called the case a road-rage slaying.

But authorities now say it appears to have resulted from a tragic chain of coincidences, including Tammy Meyers’ mistaken belief that the car with Nowsch and Andrews in it was the same one driven by a man who threatened Meyers and her daughter earlier.

Nowsch feared the people in the car driven by Tammy Meyers were following him and meant to do him harm, according to his statements to police.

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