Former Colorado fugitive sentenced to prison for spectacular Caesars Palace standoff in Vegas

Sep 28, 2023, 1:11 PM

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former fugitive from Colorado who pleaded guilty to causing a spectacular Las Vegas Strip hotel standoff that included furniture flying from a Caesars Palace window was sentenced Thursday to pay nearly $55,300 in restitution to the hotel and to serve up to four years of prison time.

Matthew John Ermond Mannix, 36, of Golden, Colorado, stood in shackles and apologized for his actions, blaming a mental health crisis and a relapse into severe drug and alcohol abuse after 20 years of addiction.

“I wasn’t in my right mind,” he said.

His attorney, David Roger, listed more than 10 illegal drugs and several prescription medications that he said Mannix has taken in the past, and said Mannix is now being treated in custody with drugs that treat bipolar disorders and schizophrenia. Mannix’s family has already paid the money promised to Caesars Palace, Roger said.

Mannix was hallucinating, his attorney said, after several days of intense drug use before he was arrested July 11 with a woman he brought to his room and a five-hour daylight standoff involving a heavy Las Vegas police SWAT response at a 29-story hotel tower at the heart of the Las Vegas Boulevard resort corridor.

“This is a mental health and a drug issue,” Roger said. “We all know he made a bad choice to use drugs.”

Guests evacuated a pool area as broken glass fell from a 21st-floor window and items including chairs and a desk crashed to building rooftops below. No serious injuries were reported.

Roger pointed to a plea agreement and Mannix’s guilty pleas on Aug. 17 to felony property destruction and misdemeanor negligence. Prosecutors agreed to drop more serious felony kidnapping and coercion charges. In Nevada, a kidnapping conviction can carry a sentence of life in prison.

The plea deal called for Mannix to be transferred to Colorado to serve his Nevada sentence at the same time as any prison time he receives on a probation violation in a kidnapping and domestic violence case in Jefferson County.

Clark County District Court Judge Crystal Eller rejected prosecutor Max Anderson’s request to sentence Mannix to up to five years in prison, saying the 19 months-to-four-years term she was imposing will allow Mannix to complete a prison substance abuse recovery program.

It was not immediately clear whether Mannix will serve his sentence in Nevada or Colorado. Roger told reporters outside court that he expected Colorado authorities to take custody of his client to resolve the case against him in his home state.

Mannix has remained jailed in Las Vegas on $750,000 bail since his surrender to police at his hotel room door. A prosecutor told a judge the next day that Mannix had been convicted in Colorado of kidnapping in 2022 and property damage in 2012, and that multiple people had court orders of protection against him.

Authorities had characterized the incident at Caesars Palace as a hostage standoff. Police said Mannix pulled the woman inside a room by force and claimed he had a gun. Investigators said in an arrest report that it appeared that Mannix and the woman had taken drugs for several days and were ”experiencing drug-induced paranoia” during the standoff.

Roger said Thursday that the woman went willingly to the room with Mannix and that police witnessed the two having consensual sex during the standoff. The woman was not charged with a crime. Police said she gave police a folding knife after Mannix surrendered. No gun was found.

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Former Colorado fugitive sentenced to prison for spectacular Caesars Palace standoff in Vegas