Teens Call It Death by Russian Roulette. Cops Call It Murder

17-year-old Matthew Minkler is now dead
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2018 1:52 AM CDT
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"We know this wasn't Russian roulette," the teen's mother says.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Police in Nevada say two teenage suspects are claiming their friend died in a game of "modified Russian roulette." Relatives of 17-year-old Matthew Minkler say the teens weren't playing Russian roulette—and they were only pretending to be his friends. Minkler's body was found Friday in an abandoned house in Henderson, 16 miles north of Las Vegas, reports Fox News. Police went to the house based on information they received after Jaiden Caruso, 16, and Kody Harlan, 17, were arrested in a stolen Mercedes in Las Vegas earlier in the day. Police say Harlan told them he had "been present at a murder" and led them to the house, where Minkler's body had been dragged to a downstairs closet.

Russian roulette involves "loading a single bullet into a revolver, spinning the cylinder, and then pulling the trigger," a police report states. Harlan told police that after Caruso brought out his revolver, he "never allowed the other participants to handle the firearm or pull the trigger themselves." "We know this wasn't Russian roulette," Minkler's mother, Jamie Shanklin, tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "My kid was shot in the chin, like they were shutting him up." Police say that after Minkler was shot, the other teens didn't call 911 or attempt to render aid—and Caruso, who recorded videos of the aftermath of the shooting, used money from the teen's wallet to buy new shoes. Both teens have been charged as adults. Caruso is charged with murder with a deadly weapon and robbery, while Harlan faces charges including being an accessory to murder after the fact.

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