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Suspect in UMC stabbings jailed on murder charge

Updated June 24, 2022 - 3:45 pm

A man accused of stabbing two people, one fatally, early Thursday at University Medical Center faces a murder charge.

Las Vegas police identified the suspect as Michael Earl, 48. He was booked Thursday into the Clark County Detention Center and also faces counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, jail records show.

Although an initial appearance was scheduled for Friday morning in Las Vegas Justice Court, Earl refused to appear and was returned to the jail. Hearing Master Daniel Westmeyer ordered him held without bail until his next court appearance, scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Police Lt. Jason Johansson said the stabbings occurred at 1:50 a.m. in a secured area of the hospital where psychiatric patients are treated.

Authorities said a patient was at the hospital receiving treatment in the adult emergency department when he exited his room and stabbed a nearby patient who was in restraints. Another patient then was stabbed on a gurney in a hallway but was able to get away.

Both victims were men in their 20s, Johansson said.

The Clark County coroner’s office on Friday identified Porfirio Rea, 29, as the man who died. His official cause and manner of death were pending.

The hospital issued a statement Thursday saying it was working with police and that the Las Vegas Valley is in need of additional mental health services, including psychiatric emergency rooms, crisis stabilization and outpatient mental health services.

“With few of these specialized facilities in our community, behavioral health patients are frequently transported to acute care hospitals like UMC solely to receive medical clearance,” the hospital stated. “In many cases, acute care hospitals are not the correct setting for behavioral health patients. Unfortunately, every hospital in Southern Nevada faces similar challenges.”

Court records show Earl was charged in 2003 in Las Vegas with assault with a deadly weapon and robbery. The robbery charge was later dismissed as part of court negotiations with prosecutors. Online records did not detail the outcome of the assault charge. In 2006, Earl was arrested in Las Vegas on a felony drug charge. He subsequently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug offense and was ordered to attend counseling and community service.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Katelyn Newberg and David Wilson contributed to this report.

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