As parole hearing nears, police won’t say if double murder suspect is a snitch

By: - September 25, 2019 5:38 am

Entry from Metro’s online list of unsolved homicides.

When convicted felon Shane Valentine appears next week before the Nevada Parole Board, there’s likely to be no shortage of opposition to his release from prison.   

Valentine is an on-again, off-again person of interest in the 2016 unsolved double murders of 20-year-old Nehemiah Kauffman and Kauffman’s girlfriend, 21-year-old Sydney Land, according to police statements. 

He’s also the former pimp of Morgan Fitzpatrick, according to court and police records. She’s the daughter of District Court Judge Michelle Leavitt. 

Another judge, Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melanie Tobiasson, faces possible disciplinary action for telling police acquaintances her concerns that Valentine was recruiting young women into prostitution.

To cap it off, according to text messages from Kauffman, discovered by police after his murder, Valentine may be a police informant.  

“You the cops homie!!!”

Shane Valentine (Nevada Department of Corrections photo)

Kauffman and Valentine were competing for a “stable” of young women to work as prostitutes, according to 2016 text messages between the two obtained by the Current.  

Court and police documents reveal Valentine’s “stable” included Leavitt’s daughter and at least two daughters of Metropolitan Police officers.

The competition heated up on Oct. 8, when Valentine shot into the Centennial Hills home of Kauffman’s mother and rammed his rented Nissan into her garage.  Valentine, according to cell phone records later obtained by police, was sending death threats to Kauffman.   

At one point during the exchange, Kauffman alleged Valentine was a police informant. 

“You the cops homie!!!” Kaufmann wrote, according to grand jury exhibits. “I heard you a snitch bruh!!!” 

Despite physical evidence at the scene, including the Nissan emblem from Valentine’s rented car and a bullet in the ceiling that Metro’s crime scene analyst testified she never removed, within days of the shooting, police closed the case without filing charges. 

Three weeks later, Kauffman and Land would be found executed in their Las Vegas apartment.

‘A suspect until I say he’s not’

According to cell phone records presented to a grand jury in December 2016, Valentine changed his phone number at 12:40 a.m. on Oct. 28, the day after police say Land and Kauffman were murdered.  

Valentine was immediately named a suspect by police, who arrested him in California, still driving the Nissan with the missing emblem. He was charged with the Oct. 8 shooting, but not the homicides.   

Text messages obtained by the Current between LVMPD Homicide Detective Mitchell Dosch and Sydney Land’s mother, Connie, reveal Valentine was the sole suspect for much of the year following the double homicide.

“Shane is still a suspect until I say he’s not,” Dosch told Connie Land six months after the homicides.

Shortly after the first anniversary of the murders and long after Valentine had been sent to prison for burglary convictions and the shooting, police said Valentine was no longer a suspect in the deaths. They have declined to say what, if any evidence, cleared him.  

Last year, at a news conference marking the second anniversary of the murders, Metro Lt. Ray Spencer announced Valentine was once again “a person of interest” in the murders, but declined to say why. 

As the third anniversary approaches, police are silent, refusing to comment on the investigation or whether Valentine is indeed a police informant.  

“The case is still active and ongoing,” Spencer told the Current via a police spokesperson. “Investigative details will not be given out.”

Connie Land, who has an online petition urging the Parole Board to keep Valentine behind bars, complained recently on social media that Metro’s website listing unsolved homicides made no mention of her daughter and Kauffman. Police quickly updated the page to include the double homicide. 

“Shane Valentine is a lifelong, violent and dangerous criminal with no regard for society,” Land’s petition says. “He does not deserve any leniency for the countless crimes he has committed. There should be no negotiating or early parole for Shane Valentine.”

Valentine was first convicted of burglary and home invasion in 2011.

Judicial conduct questioned

Tobiasson, who says police ignored her warnings about Valentine’s involvement with daughters of police and judges, is challenging a judicial disciplinary complaint alleging she violated ethical canons by using her position as a judge to notify police of her personal concerns.  

Leavitt, who has declined to discuss her daughter’s involvement with Valentine, is facing ramifications on the bench, where she recently recused herself from a domestic violence case in which the defendant’s attorney cited testimony in which Morgan Fitzpatrick, Leavitt’s daughter, said Valentine orchestrated a beating against her. 

In court testimony reported last year by the Current, Fitzpatrick relayed how Valentine ordered two women to beat her after a night’s work for an escort service. Valentine was not charged in connection with the assault.

Fitzpatrick testified in a trial about her nightmarish experience living with Valentine and two “roommates,” who Fitzpatrick says beat her while Valentine watched.

Morgan Leavitt (Fitzpatrick): Shane is telling me that I have to get out of the car and fight them if I want to have the money for my cab fare. And I said, no, I’m not getting out of the car.  I don’t want to get out of the car. And I repeatedly said that over and over again. And then at that point Sophia had reached into the cab driver’s window and somehow got the door unlocked and Dayonna was on the passenger side at that point opening up the door and pulled me out by my hair.

Q: Then what happened? 

A: I was held back with my hands behind my back while Sophia hit me repeatedly in my face.

Q: Who held you back while Sophia hit you?

A: Dayonna.

Q: You said she hit you repeatedly in your face?

A:  Yes.

Q: What did Shane do, if anything?

A: Just watched.

Q: How do you know Shane?

A: How do I know Shane? I know him from high school. I grew up with him.

Q: Was he your boyfriend?

A: No.

Q: So he just invited you to move in?

A: He sold weed and that’s how we initially came in contact. He was a friend of mine back in high school and we became in contact and that’s how I know him.

Valentine, who is in a Carson City prison, is scheduled for an Oct. 3 hearing before the parole board and is eligible for release. He will be released in July 2020 if his parole is denied. 

Attorney Adam Gill, who represented Valentine on robbery charges and the 2016 shooting, did not respond to calls from the Current.  

The Clark County District Attorney’s office did not respond to emails regarding Valentine’s pending hearing.

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.