Bailley Short’s family has one question for the man convicted of shooting and killing the 20-year-old woman in an alleyway behind a Las Vegas resort.
“The worst part is we’re never going to get the ‘why,’” Savannah Short-Windober said Friday during a sentencing hearing for the man convicted of killing her sister.
Michael Land, 40, represented himself at his November trial and maintained his innocence on Friday, after a jury convicted him of first-degree murder.
Prosecutors have said Land led the victim down an alleyway on the property of Tahiti Village on Aug. 15, 2018, and shot her twice — in the back of the head and neck.
She was found with a half-opened box of French toast sticks, prosecutor Christopher Hamner said Friday. He said she likely was eating when she died, unaware of what was happening. Neither surveillance footage nor text messages gave any indication that Land and Short were in an argument.
Land, who worked as a security guard at the Aria, also had no prior contact with law enforcement.
“That is what makes this crime, to me, so horrifying and scary, because it comes out of nowhere,” Hamner said Friday.
District Judge Michelle Leavitt sentenced Land to 28 years to life in prison for killing Short.
Hamner has said Land “awkwardly” tried and failed to cover up the crime, contradicting himself during a nearly two-hour long police interview and when he took the witness stand during the trial.
Investigators linked Land to Short’s killing through a gun found in his home. The gun matched bullets and bullet casings found at the scene. It also had Land’s DNA on it, and a 20-pack of bullets was found in Land’s home, with only two missing.
Police believe Land was one of two men who were with Short in the early hours of Aug. 15, 2018, according to Land’s arrest report. A man whom Short would pay for rides told police that he drove her to pick up another man at Aria.
The man knew Short as a sex worker, and Short told him she was going to meet a “regular” client named Mike, the report said.
Security footage captured Land and Short walking on the Tahiti Village property, toward the area where Short’s body was later found. Only one person was on video walking away from the scene, Hamner said during the trial.
Land told the judge on Friday that he was sorry for the pain that Short’s mother was feeling, but he denied killing the woman.
“I’m one of the good guys. I just wasn’t able to prove that at trial,” he said.
Short’s mother, Barbara Short, said her daughter was a “beautiful, bright spirit” from the time she was born. She loved children and animals but struggled with depression and addiction.
Before her death, Short called her mother from the Clark County Detention Center after being arrested. She wanted her mother, who worked at a nonprofit helping people with addiction, to find a spot in the program for a woman she had met in jail.
Barbara Short said on Friday that she tried to tell her daughter to seek treatment instead, but she insisted on helping the other woman who had children of her own. The other woman eventually made it through the program, and Barbara Short said she wished her daughter could have seen the difference she had made in someone else’s life.
“Bailley didn’t deserve to be executed and be left alone to die like she was nothing,” Barbara Short said. “Her chance to get clean and change her life was taken away from her.”