How a CPR-training mannequin helped secure an attempted murder conviction
LAS VEGAS – Would a CPR-training mannequin, disguised as a homeless person, be sufficient bait to lure a killer to strike?
A homicide detective and prosecutor never thought it would work, reported Las Vegas Review Journal. They doubted dressing a CPR-training mannequin, as a person sleeping, and placing it where two homeless men were bludgeoned to death with a hammer would lead to the arrest of the suspected killer.
The trap was set
But if you don’t try, you’ll never know! So the trap was set.
Although authorities never found enough evidence to charge Shane Schindler, 30, in the deaths of the two men, they caught him on camera attacking the decoy dummy with a hammer in February. Consequently, Schindler was recently sentenced to eight to 20 years in prison for attempted murder for hammering the dummy.
It’s so simple, it’s brilliant!
And on Tuesday, LVMPD officers and a prosecutor described how they used the decoy dummy to get a conviction. Moreover, the CPR training-mannequin was on display at an event held at the Mob Museum, 300 Stewart Ave., about a mile from where police used it as a decoy.
Geoff Schumacher, the Mob Museum’s senior director of content, said he wanted to host the event because of the case’s unusual circumstances, the homicides’ proximity to the museum and its function as a law enforcement museum.
Captain Andy Walsh hatched idea
Capt. Andy Walsh was credited with the ruse. He hatched the unconventional idea to use the dummy. More importantly, he thought doing so saved lives. As captain of Metro’s Downtown Area Command, he said he felt a responsibility to the community to find whoever killed Daniel Aldape, 46, and David Dunn, 60, however he could and prevent another attack.
“It’s something we take personally,” Walsh said.
He joined homicide Detective Ryan Jaeger and prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo to discuss the case.
Jaeger was skeptical. He didn’t think Walsh’s idea would draw anybody to attack it. Moreover, the prosecutor was in the same boat.
“Clearly, I was wrong,” DiGiacomo said.
Authorities have said they believe Schindler was in the area at the time of the Jan. 4 killing of Adalpe. On Schindler’s phone, police found a selfie taken in November that shows him on his back in the area. During his interrogation, he told police that he knew he was attacking a dummy and not a person.
Suspect attacks CPR-training mannequin
After police caught Schindler attacking the dummy on a February night, they initially booked him on an outstanding jaywalking warrant to buy time to devise their next plan. They released him the next morning, and police conducted surveillance to determine where he lived. As a result, investigators followed-up with a search warrant for Schindler’s home.
Metro arrested him that night on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon, as police said he put a hammer inside of a bag after he used it to attack the mannequin.
Yet DiGiacomo said he wasn’t satisfied with the concealed weapon charge.
Circumstances lead to charge of attempted murder
“He tried to kill somebody,” DiGiacomo remembered thinking aloud. “That’s attempted murder.”
Prosecutors charged Schindler with attempted murder, but his case never made it to trial. DiGiacomo and Schindler’s public defender, Ashley Sisolak, reached a plea deal. Schindler would plead guilty to attempted murder, and prosecutors wouldn’t pursue murder charges.
Had the sides failed to agree on the deal, DiGiacomo said he would’ve indicted Schindler for murder, which would have made for an interesting trial.
“If he didn’t think he was involved in the murders, I don’t think I ever get a plea out of this case,” DiGiacomo said.
Defense attorney attended event
Sisolak attended the event Tuesday and sat in the audience. She was a guest of DiGiacomo, she said.
When asked whether she thought there was enough evidence to connect Schindler to the two homicides, Sisolak replied, “I don’t think we’ll ever know.”
“My client had a lot of exposure, and so this is what we thought was fair for everybody,” Sisolak said. “It’s a good negotiation if nobody is happy.”
Las Vegas Review Journal video
Jaeger said he initially opposed using the CPR-training mannequin, but he figured there was little to lose. They needed a lead somehow. And he was right.
“I don’t know if we could ever use this again,” he said.
Finally, congratulations LVMPD on your ingenuity. You can’t catch fish if your line is not in the water. Way to use a “dummy” to lure a fool!
(Photo: Screenshot Las Vegas Review Journal video)