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Penalty options await for man convicted in rapper’s death

Updated May 11, 2022 - 6:53 am

Jurors deliberated more than four hours Friday but did not decide on a penalty for the man they convicted a day earlier in the 2019 shooting death and robbery of a Las Vegas-area rapper.

On Thursday, the jury convicted 27-year-old Angell Fernandez of first-degree murder, as well as attempted murder, burglary, battery and robbery charges. On Friday, jurors also found him guilty of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.

Potential sentences for Fernandez are: 20 to 50 years in prison, life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years, or life without the possibility of parole. Deliberations are set to resume Monday.

Prosecutors have said Fernandez planned the home invasion and robbery at the home of 40-year-old Ronnie Cravens Jr., a rapper known as Succeed Phlyguy. Fernandez and another masked man broke into the Henderson home where Cravens lived with roommates on the 2900 block of Clarity Court.

Fernandez was linked to a firearm that was shot 12 times during the ensuing gunfight, prosecutors have said. One roommate was shot in the leg, while Cravens was shot multiple times and died on his living room floor.

In the days before the shooting, Fernandez sent pizza deliveries to Cravens’ home in order to conduct surveillance on the house. Police have said they linked Fernandez to the shooting through the phone number used to order the pizzas.

Last month, 30-year-old Michael Mosley was sentenced to between 12 and 30 years in prison for his role in the robbery and shooting. A third suspect in the case, 40-year-old Wahid Briley, is scheduled to go to trial in January.

Prosecutors have said Fernandez had a criminal history dating back seven years, including arrests in connection with a 2015 armed robbery and a 2017 federal weapons charge. He was released from federal custody in 2019, about 30 days before Cravens was killed, Chief Deputy District Attorney Michelle Fleck told jurors on Friday.

“The entire month that he was out of supervision, he was plotting and he was planning the murder and the robbery of Ronnie Cravens,” Fleck said. “There is no evidence that the defendant has the ability or, moreover, the desire to be rehabilitated.”

The prosecutor said Fernandez previously tried to persuade a girlfriend to help him escape from the Clark County Detention Center, following his arrest in connection with the 2015 armed robbery at a Las Vegas pawn store. She said that over the years, Fernandez’s crimes have become “more and more brazen, and more sophisticated.”

Defense attorney Phil Singer asked the jury not to sentence Fernandez to life in prison without parole, stating that the punishment should be reserved for those with “the worst records, who have no redeeming qualities.” He also emphasized to jurors that Fernandez did not fire the shot that killed Cravens.

Fernandez’s adopted sister and prior guardian, Amanda Hicks, told jurors that he can be rehabilitated. Hicks said Fernandez grew up between his biological mother and her family, until she took custody of him when he was in high school. She said he graduated from Legacy High School with straight A’s, served in the U.S. Army for three years and had gone to school to be an anesthesiologist.

Hicks said she struggled to reconcile the kind, smart teenager she looked after with the man who was convicted of murder.

“He’s made mistakes. I’m not going to sit around and tell you that he has not, whether it be one, or ten, or a thousand,” Hicks said. “But he doesn’t deserve to spend the rest of his life in prison.”

Before jurors began deliberating Fernandez’s sentence, he told them he feels remorse for Cravens’ family.

“If I had any control over the situation, there wouldn’t be anybody who lost his life,” he said. “I would never want that to happen.”

Jamie Kang, the mother of one of Cravens’ children, said Friday that she has watched her daughter struggle with his death in the years since the shooting. She said Cravens was the “glue of our family,” and now all she is left with is a Facebook memorial page to leave him messages.

“Please remember that for only $3,000, Angell took a good-hearted, selfless partner, brave supporter and provider, a father, a son, a brother and a grandpa, from all of us,” Kang said.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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