Viewable With ANY Browser

Note: My Web pages are best viewed with style sheets enabled.


Murder in the Casino, a Postscript

Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2005 by David E. Ross

Jeremy Strohmeyer is now in prison for life for killing 7-year-old Sherrice Iverson in a Nevada casino. Now, although Nevada claims Strohmeyer's friend David Cash violated no law even if he realized that Iverson was in real danger, the demand is for criminal charges against him for doing nothing to rescue her. There are even moves in the Nevada Legislature and in Congress to explicitly criminalize the act of standing by and doing nothing when a child's life is at risk.

There was, however, another crime committed in Iverson's death — a crime no one wants to discuss. Among those calling for action against Cash is Leroy Iverson, the murdered girl's father. But Leroy Iverson demonstrated his priorities when left his daughter unattended in the casino, in the middle of the night, while he gambled. In California, we have laws about "child endangerment". These laws provide that a parent commits a crime when neglecting a child to the extent that the child's life is at risk. Does not Nevada have similar laws?

How dare Leroy Iverson rail against David Cash! Leroy Iverson's guilt in the death of his daughter is morally at least as great as Cash's. Under the law, Leroy Iverson's guilt may be even greater than Cash's. Why is everyone focusing on Cash and no one demanding prosecution of Leroy Iverson?

25 October 1998

Almost a year after I wrote the above opinion, I started receiving E-mail about it. The comments specifically address the role of Sherrice's father, Leroy Iverson, and fall at two opposite ends of the spectrum.

Against Leroy Iverson, one message claimed that he had previously been convicted of some felony. I have no information about this, and I do not consider it relevant (if true) to the situation at hand. Even felons can be loving, concerned parents.

In favor of Leroy Iverson, the messages fail to assert any "facts". Instead, they attack my character for questioning how the behavior of Sherrice's father contributed to her death. These messages were difficult to read, not because of the personal attacks (holding political office for 14 years made me used to that) but because of the illiteracy. Simple rules of grammar do not exist for those who think Leroy Iverson is blameless.

Okay, maybe what Leroy Iverson did was not a crime — neglecting his daughter in the middle of the night while he gambled. But the law only sets a minimum standard for acceptable behavior. Truly loving parents know that a young child does not belong in a casino in the middle of the night. They know that Sherrice should have been asleep in bed, with an adult remaining present to watch over her.

In the end I still assert that, if David Cash did something wrong by not stopping Jeremy Strohmeyer, Leroy Iverson also did something wrong by allowing his gambling to distract him from his parental obligations. And if David Cash committed a crime by merely standing by, then Leroy Iverson committed a crime by neglecting his daughter's safety. The law in Nevada might not make such neglect a crime, but this was at least a crime against human decency if not against the law.

Characterizing David Cash as a cold, depraved fiend who deserves the condemnation of all good people while also characterizing Leroy Iverson as a bereaved, doting father who deserves our sympathy leaves a very foul taste in my mouth.

Only my comments on gun control and United Parcel Service have generated as many E-mail messages as this page. Leroy Iverson's supporters still favor unstructured, non-grammatical stream of consciousness. Also, someone wanted Jeremy Strohmeyer's prison mailing address, to start a pen-pal relationship. (The pun is entirely mine.) I do not have the address and suggested how to use the Internet to search for it. (I have never understood the fascination of making friends with someone currently in prison, especially with someone who purposely committed a horrific crime as did Strohmeyer.)

28 October 1999

Big, Bad Leroy

In response to my commentary Murder in the Casino, a Postscript, I received the following E-mail:

Subject: Leroy Iverson
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999 18:47:37 -0500

Mr. Ross,

Can you verify for me that Leroy Iverson asked the casino for $100.00 for gambling, a plane ticket for his girlfriend, free beer and money for girlfriend's daughter to play in the arcade. I recently read this as a direct quote from Chris Gibase, COO of Primadonna Resorts Inc. This is exchange for the fact he would not sue.

I am shock that after such obvious neglect of his daughter that those requests would escape the proper authorities.

Thank You for any help,

Cindy L.
Concerned Mother

At least three germs of believability affect this rumor.

My initial analysis, however, concluded that this was a hoax. I even provided a lengthy evaluation on my Other Online Hoaxes page of my Frauds and Hoaxes site. More than five years after my original analysis, I received another message.

Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2005 17:33:58 EST
Subject: (no subject)

Hello, Mr. Ross…

My name is XXX. It's Sunday and I've got nothing better to do than to browse the internet. I decided to google a few of my old high school buddies names and upon searching my old boyfriend's name, i came across your website. At first, I thought it was coincidental that there is another guy that lived in Las Vegas with the same name as my old flame, but then I read more about your website and saw that his name and the Strohmeyer case coincided. Then I remembered that his dad, also named Chris Gibase did in fact used to work there as the COO. I don't exactly know why he stopped working with them, but I do remember that Chris (my bf) told me it had something to do with the Strohmeyer incident. You might want to remove that comment from your website, if you care enough.

Bored in Northern California…

In October 1999 when I first reported this as a hoax, Gibase was not then the COO of the hotel in question. I could not determine who was COO in 1998 (when Strohmeyer went to prison) or earlier (when Strohmeyer killed Sherrice Iverson in a restroom at the hotel's casino).

Then, I received another message.

Subject: Final word on Iverson slaying
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2005 00:14:22 -0700

Hi David,

Although a little late with this info, I thought I might set the record straight. In regard to the supposed offer by Leroy Iverson to settle with Primadonna Resorts for $100, some beer, dinner, etc. over the murder of his daughter, Sherrice: Chris Gibase was indeed the COO of Primadonna Resorts at the time this horrible slaying occurred. Primadonna Resorts had no affiliation with MGM at the time. I was employed by Primadonna Resorts during this period and in fact was working the graveyard shift at Whiskey Pete's Hotel and Casino, one of the 3 hotels owned by Primadonna Resorts at the time the slaying occurred. The slaying was at Primm Valley Hotel which is directly across I-15 from Whiskey Pete's, and next door to Buffalo Bill's. (Buffalo Bill's was the third resort owned by Primadonna Resorts.) Below, you'll find is a link to a Las Vegas Review-Journal article verifying Gibase's position with the company, the supposed settlement offered by Mr. Iverson, and commentary by Gibase as the media source of this information. (Gibase was definitely the media source for this incident — I saw his commentary on a local news broadcast. — Note that this is not denied by Primadonna Resorts in their statement regarding a defamation lawsuit filed by Iverson.)

Now that the purported hoax has been verified as true, I can offer up another rumor regarding the slaying: Myself and many other employees noticed that all three Primm hotels elected to forego the usual distribution of the Sunday edition of the LVRJ in their gift shops the following day. It was a holiday weekend you see, and they did not wish to upset guests, or risk having public reaction to the murder influence holiday revenue in a negative way! They assumed quite a risk, if true, as no suspect was in custody at the time. I am 90% certain that this censorship of the slaying is indeed true.

Thank You,
Former Pit Boss

This message contained a link to an archived news item from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which confirms that Leroy Iverson did indeed file a lawsuit against the hotel. The news item also repeats the allegations made in the message from "Bored in Northern California", but it also contains Iverson's denial. Indeed, Iverson's lawsuit claimed he was defamed by Gibase and the hotel.

Was the rumor in the message from "Bored in Northern California" a hoax? No. Did Leroy Iverson really make such outrageous demands on the hotel? Not knowing the result of the lawsuit, I don't know.

Gibase is now an executive with a hotel management group. Leroy Iverson is now dead. The final words on this issue were pronounced back in 1997 by the hotel's attorney:

… we do not believe that any set of facts alleged by him [Leroy Iverson] will relieve him of his obligation to have properly supervised and watched over his child …

21 August 2005

Well, I thought the above was the final word on this issue. However, seven years after I originally wrote this commentary, I still receive E-mail about it. By writing all in capital letters, PayInBlack shouted his comments.

Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 18:36:29 EST
Subject: GET A LIFE


This was succinct but not quite realistic.

I never said that Cash should not be punished. What I said was that his wrong-doing — standing by while a little girl was raped and murdered — was no less than the crime of Leroy Iverson, who failed to act as a truly concerned parent.

The problem is that no one can cite a statute violated by David Cash. At the time Sherrice Iverson died, no law made it a crime for Cash to do nothing. On the other hand, laws actually existed that said Leroy Iverson, by doing nothing, committed the crime of child neglect. (In California, this is Penal Code §273a, for which the penalty may be as much as six years in a state prison.)

Thus, Iverson committed a real crime; he violated the law. Cash committed a moral wrong, but no law made that a crime. This means that — in terms of the law — Iverson's failure to act to protect his daughter was truly worse than Cash's.

In the meantime, there seems to be a problem with legislating to make Cash's moral failure into a criminal act. While such laws have been proposed, none seem to have been enacted. It is very difficult to force a bystander — not a police officer — to possibly risk injury or even his or her life to stop a crime. No one seems to be able to craft the appropriate wording to distinguish between when intervention is required (when lack of intervention is a crime) and when the risk to the bystander is too great.

So tell me, PayInBlack, what crime did Cash commit that should land him in prison? And if you can identify such a crime, how did the prosecutor in Nevada answer when you asked him why Cash was not tried? Finally, reread this commentary: Where do you see me saying that Cash did no wrong?

26 December 2005

Link to David Ross's home page
David Ross home

Valid HTML 4.01