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Las Vegas police say attacker used a sledgehammer to kill a woman at a laundromat

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    This undated photo provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows Clinton Taylor, 36, of Las Vegas, following his arrest today. Taylor is accused of bludgeoning a woman to death with a sledgehammer while her 911 call from a Las Vegas laundromat went dead. Police say they don’t believe the woman knew Taylor.

LAS VEGAS >> Police in Las Vegas arrested a 36-year-old man for allegedly killing a woman with a sledgehammer at a laundromat this morning — an attack that came not long after the victim is believed to have called 911 to report a man outside the business carrying one.

The suspect, identified by authorities as Clinton Taylor, was found a short time later covered in blood and holding a sledgehammer, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He was arrested and booked on suspicion of murder in the Clark County Detention Center.

The victim, who was found in front of the laundromat’s doorway, was not immediately identified by the Clark County coroner’s office.

Police said they received a 911 call at 5:07 a.m. from a woman at the laundromat about 10 minutes west of downtown Las Vegas. During the call, police said, screaming was heard and then the line disconnected. After officers arrived, a woman was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said the victim apparently did not know the attacker. She was the only person in the laundromat, which opened at 4:30 a.m., at the time of the attack, he said.

“This would be the first one I’ve encountered with a sledgehammer,” Spencer said.

Sledgehammer killings, which are not common according to FBI statistics, are listed in the “blunt objects” category that includes hammers and clubs. In 2017, there were 467 homicides involving blunt objects — 229 fewer than the number of killings caused by hands, fists or feet. By comparison, the number of slayings involving knives in 2017 was 1,591. Firearms topped the list, with 10,982 used in a homicide in 2017.

Other examples of sledgehammer cases include the following:

—This year, a man in Indianapolis was convicted of using a sledgehammer to kill a 37-year-old woman he knew in November.

—In July, a 23-year-old man pleaded not guilty to murder and a special allegation he used a sledgehammer in the killing of his 22-year-old roommate in Ojai Valley, Calif., according to Ventura County prosecutors.

—In 2014, an Ohio man was convicted and received the death penalty for killing his ex-girlfriend’s parents with a sledgehammer — though defense attorneys argued before the Ohio Supreme Court this year that he shouldn’t have been sentenced to death because of his low IQ. He is on death row.

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