Las Vegas, NV – A man convicted of killing a retired Connecticut state trooper on the Las Vegas Strip last year could walk out of prison in just eight years after being sentenced to a reduced charge of manslaughter earlier this month.
Las Vegas District Court Judge Michelle Leavitt sentenced 34-year-old Brandon Leath to eight to 20 years in prison on April 8 in connection with the Feb. 28, 2021, attack on retired Connecticut State Police (CSP) Trooper Thomas Driscoll, KLAS reported.
Leath, a six-time felon, was initially charged with murder for killing the 57-year-old retired trooper, but took a voluntary manslaughter plea deal back in January, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
He will be eligible for parole in just eight years, KVVU reported.
Leavitt also ordered Leath to pay restitution as a condition of his sentence.
Police said Leath “offered no explanation” for the deadly attack on retired Trooper Driscoll, KLAS reported.
Driscoll’s former girlfriend, Annie Chong, said the lenient sentence was “a miscarriage of justice,” according to KVVU.
“He was a hardworking police officer for the state of Connecticut for 22 years… it’s just not right, justice is not served,” Chong said. “If [Leath] gets out 8 years later, he will hurt people again.”
The fatal attack occurred at approximately 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 28, 2021, as Driscoll and a woman, Nava Fuehrer, passed by a group of men while walking across a pedestrian bridge between Bally’s and The Cromwell, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
One of the members of the group, later identified as Leath, made a comment about Fuehrer and Driscoll having walked through their group, according to a report released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).
A moment later, Leath allegedly ran towards the couple and headed down a flight of stairs to wait for them as they made their way down an escalator, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
As Driscoll and Fuehrer reached the bottom of the escalator, Leath “set down his backpack and took a fighting stance,” according to the police report.
Investigators said Leath advanced on the couple and threw a single punch at the retired trooper, hitting him in the face, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Driscoll fell backwards onto the pavement, where he remained still, according to police.
Officers monitoring surveillance footage in the area saw the attack unfold, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
They broadcasted a description of the suspect, who was quickly apprehended by LVMPD near The Mirage.
Leath was transported to the police station, where he allegedly denied having had any contact with Driscoll, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Driscoll was rushed to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead about one hour after the attack.
According to the coroner’s office, the retired trooper died from blunt-force cranciocervical injury to the base of his skull, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
The coroner ruled his death a homicide.
Driscoll served the CSP for 22 years, spending most of his career on patrol at Troop H in Hartford and Troop B in North Canaan, WCSH reported.
He also spent time serving at Bradley Airport, the CSP said in a statement to the news outlet.
Another man Leath allegedly assaulted told WFSB that he and his employer called the LVMPD on Leath at least eight times in the two months leading up to Driscoll’s murder.
The unnamed victim, who worked at an apartment complex, claimed Leath knocked him unconscious inside a convenience store, leaving him with persistent headaches and blurred vision.
Workers at the same apartment complex said Leath had repeatedly broken into one of their units, claiming it belonged to him, WFSB reported.
“I walked inside the unit vacant unit that he was squatting in … he ran down the stairs scaring the daylights out of me … I ran out the unit called 9-1-1,” a staff member told WFSB. “I have a tenant moving out now because he tried to sexually assault her in a dark parking lot.”
One employee claimed LVMPD did not respond to all the calls they have made regarding Leath.
“I waited six, seven hours for Metro and I just ended up leaving,” the employee told WFSB.
He said Leath also threatened him with a screwdriver on one occasion.
The employees described the suspect as a “ticking time bomb,” WFSB reported.
The apartment complex ultimately ended up investing in a $6,000 security camera system to help watch for Leath after employees threatened to quit it something wasn’t done, the employee told WFSB.
Leath’s attorney, Mace Yampolsky, said he thinks it is “unfortunate” his client was “sentenced to the maximum,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
He argued that Leath wasn’t even accused of using a deadly weapon during the attack.
Yampolsky claimed Leath struck Driscoll after the retired trooper allegedly raised a beer bottle in a “threatening manner,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The suspect further claimed he tried to back away from the confrontation with Driscoll.
“In that moment I didn’t know what else to do,” Leath said.