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Accused Mastermind in Vegas Casino Heists Balks at Plea

19 June 2002

LAS VEGAS -- As reported by the Associated Press: ``A Las Vegas man accused of murder and several casino robberies refused a plea agreement Wednesday that would have let him avoid a death penalty trial.

``Jose Vigoa, 42, declined an offer of life in prison without the possibility of parole and instead will face a scheduled July 8 trial.

``He has been jailed since June 2000, charged with 46 felony counts stemming from the March 2000 slayings of two armored truck guards in Henderson and a series of Las Vegas area casino robberies from June 1998 to June 2000.

``...Officials said Vigoa's trial will take place with extraordinarily tight security.

``...Gary Prestidge, father of one of the slain guards, sat a few rows behind Vigoa, wiping tears from his eyes.

``...The defendant did not return for the second hearing, during which his refusal to sign a plea agreement was announced..."

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