Prosecutors have filed murder charges against a law student who claimed he found the woman he found dead and their hotel room bloodied after an argument during the couple’s trip to Las Vegas. was soaked.
Justin Medoff, 31, is charged with murdering 30-year-old Stephanie Duarte, in court documents submitted Monday, July 19. He was being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center. His lawyer, Robert Draskovic, declined to comment on the case Wednesday afternoon.
According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police report, Medoff was checked in with Duarte in room 421 of the Home2 Suite at 4940 Dean Martin Drive. She called dispatchers on July 12 at around 8:15 am to inform that she was dead and it appeared that she had been beaten up.
Police said that when the officers came to their hotel room, the defendant was pressing the chest on the victim’s body. Paramedics could not revive Duarte.
Police said the couple had a verbal altercation at the Fremont Experience, a popular pedestrian mall about seven miles from Home2 Suites, the night before she was found dead, police said. Medoff hired an Uber driver and returned to his room shortly after 2:12 p.m.
Police said Duarte arrived at the hotel 13 minutes later. The hotel’s night auditor told investigators that she seemed nervous and had stopped for a few minutes before getting into the elevator and going upstairs.
According to a Las Vegas police report, what looked like furniture was moving and a man and a woman woke people sleeping in the couple’s next room between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. When officers arrived later that morning, they saw red marks on Medoff’s right rib cage, back, shoulders and knees, as well as scratches on his arms, knees, and the top of his right leg.
According to the report, Duarte’s body was lying on the floor next to the bed with sheets and a mattress covered in blood. His eyes were swollen. His face, arms and legs were covered with cuts and bruises.
Prosecutors in a criminal complaint filed Monday accused Medoff of striking him with a clothes iron. He is to appear in court on August 2.
According to the police report, the defendant was originally a resident of Northridge before moving to Orange. He listed himself on his Instagram profile as a student of Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law. Trish Vogelsang, a longtime friend of the Duarte family, said that he had been dating the victim for a few months.
Duarte is the daughter of a Guatemalan immigrant and a graduate of UC San Diego. Vogelsang said she was pursuing a master’s degree in nursing at UC Irvine and was “the embodiment of the American Dream.”
Vogelsang said, “The girl did it only to study and go to school.” “I remember joking when I found out she’s got a boyfriend; At least now he has someone to go on study dates.”
Her sister, Andrea Duarte, described her as loving, thoughtful and “always ready for adventure” in an interview with local CBS affiliate KLAS. The grieving brother thanked the many people who have reached out over the past several days to offer condolences to his family.