CARSON CITY, Nev. (Mynews4.com & KRNV)- Leonardo Cardoza, 28, pleaded not guilty to open murder with a deadly weapon and not guilty to attempted murder with a deadly weapon in Carson City District Court Tuesday. Open murder means it is up to the jury to decide if it is first degree murder, pre-meditated murder, or non-premeditated murder. Murder in the first would mean more severe punishment.
"It hurts. it hurts my family has to go through this," said Laura Wilson, Desiree Bragg's aunt. Bragg's family was present for the arraignment. "I would just like to get justice for Desiree. And get through this and move on, raising Tristan and looking towards the future," said Wrenetta Nadon, Desiree's mother.
The prosecution argues Cardoza was tailgating 19-year old Desiree Bragg and her fiance Steven Castro on the night of January 26, 2013. In an interview done with Castro and Desiree's family following the incident, Castro explained how Cardoza followed them to Desiree's mothers house. Castro says when Desiree got out of the car Cardoza used his car to ram her into the side of her mother's house. Bragg later died in the hospital from her injuries.
In court the family has to relive the tragedy. "Hearing murder charges and Desiree's name in the same sentence is unreal. It's horrible," said Wilson.
Nadon, who will serve as a witness during the trial says she wants justice for her daughter. "You know I'm not sure there is enough justice on this planet. But a life sentence is the best we could hope for," she said.
A trial date has been set for August 19, 2013.