Death penalty trial reset in slaying of former Faith Lutheran quarterback

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 (4:17 p.m.)

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Michael Portaro

Brandon Hill will have to wait another seven months in jail for his death penalty murder trial in the slaying of Michael Portaro, a former Faith Lutheran quarterback who was shot to death in 2011 outside a northwest valley brewery.

Hill’s trial had been on the court calendar to begin Monday in the death of Portaro, who was found with multiple gunshots March 30, 2011, outside the Tenaya Creek Brewery, near Tenaya Way and Cheyenne Avenue.

Portaro, a 22-year-old aspiring hip-hop artist, had been in the area selling tickets to an upcoming concert.

During a hearing this week to see if attorneys were ready to go to trial, Clark County District Judge Elissa Cadish granted a motion to delay the trial until November.

Cadish reset the trial for 10 a.m. Nov. 13.

A grand jury indicted Hill, 23, on two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of grand larceny-auto, murder with a deadly weapon and carrying a concealed weapon.

The district attorney’s office announced in August it would seek the death penalty in the case.

It took officers several months to identify Hill as a suspect in the case. Hill was initially stopped April 10 by officers and charged with carrying a concealed firearm. Police said he tried to flee but was captured at the scene.

Police then linked the seized firearm to Portaro’s slaying. About the same time, police said, detectives received a tip indicating Hill might have been involved in the killing.

During the investigation, police arrested Hill on May 19 in connection with a robbery in the northwest valley that occurred March 26, four days before Portaro's slaying, authorities said.

It's unclear whether the same firearm was used in the March 26 robbery, but the victims identified Hill as the suspect, police said.

Police said they linked Hill to the slaying through DNA evidence from a cigarette that surveillance video showed Hill smoking before the shooting.

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