Deborah Flores-Narvaez: Death of a Showgirl
Remembrance and Indictment
On Friday, January 14, 2011, at a memorial service held inside the Fantasy show's theater inside the Luxor Hotel and Casino, friends and colleagues recalled how Debby Flores-Narvaez's life had been filled with passion, and described her as a strong-willed perfectionist who was never afraid to speak her mind with her producers and choreographers. She was also described as a kind person who was generous to those in need. Fantasy producer Anita Mann said she had possessed a hard work ethic.
"She cared," Mann told the crowd of friends and performers. "There was nothing she would not do. She wasn't that fantastically trained, but she attacked [dancing] with a vengeance... that's the way she attacked life, full out with a vengeance and a passion."
Mann described how she had sent Debbie a text message after she disappeared and failed to show up for rehearsal, asking, "Are you OK?" She never received a reply, and the Fantasy cast and crew would not understand the true significance of her absence until a month later. Mann said that at first she "got mad" when Debbie missed rehearsal, but "half an hour later I wasn't mad; I was concerned."
On Wednesday, February 9, 2011, a grand jury indicted Jason Griffith on one count of murder in the death of Deborah Flores-Narvaez. He was formally accused of strangling her to death, dismembering her body, and concealing it in two concrete-filled tubs. The indictment allowed the case to proceed without the preliminary hearing that had been previously scheduled, permitting the case to be somewhat shielded from the public and national media attention before trial. District Judge Linda Bell ordered that Griffith be held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center.
Griffith pleaded not guilty at his arraignment before Judge Donald Mosley on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, and only spoke when asked a question by the judge. Mosley set Griffith's trial date for November 28, 2011.
"I think it's ridiculous," Flores-Narvaez's sister, Celeste, told Fox 5 Vegas by telephone after the arraignment. "He's being a coward. He should be man enough to say, 'I'm guilty,' and get it done and over with and save everybody the grief. He could have stopped this the first time when his roommate stopped him from choking her. He could have just left it alone, and he actually decided to do it again and take her life. He knew what he was doing."
Griffith's attorney, Jeff Bankschief, told the news station that mounting a defense for his client was going to be challenging.
"We're going to have our work cut out for us," Bankschief said.
In the meantime, Griffith has denied all requests to be interviewed about the case, and police officials have indicated that additional arrests are possible.