Hearing for murder suspect in teen’s fentanyl death delayed

Tom and Mihaela Steyer, right, and a family friend Jennifer Owens, second from right, speak wit ...

Mihaela Steyer came to court Tuesday morning with a message on her neon pink T-shirt: “Drug Dealers Kill Children.”

She and her husband, Tom, showed up for the preliminary hearing of the 20-year-old man charged with murder in the fentanyl overdose death of their teenage son last summer, hoping to see the suspect’s face for the first time.

After months of anxious anticipation, the Steyers will have wait longer after Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum approved a motion Tuesday to delay Angelo Loza’s hearing until April 19.

Loza’s attorneys had a scheduling conflict and were litigating a jury trial, prosecutors said.

Mihaela Steyer noted that despite being charged with murder in October, Loza has not appeared in front of a judge and is out with no bail and no restrictions.

She questioned Chief Deputy District Attorney Tina Talim about it outside the courtroom.

Talim told the grieving mother that she is “entitled” to her complaints, adding that “theoretically, it could get continued to infinity.”

Talim told the Steyers that she and Deputy District Attorney Eckley Keach were ready to make their case Tuesday and will be ready next month.

During a preliminary hearing, a judge weighs evidence and determines if there is enough to move to trial.

The Metropolitan Police Department arrested Loza with fentanyl-laced pills three days after Mihaela Steyer found 16-year-old Louis Steyer dead in their North Las Vegas house on July 4. Loza admitted to selling Louis and the teenager’s friend pills earlier that week, according to his arrest report. He was arrested on a drug charge and released from the Clark County Detention Center on his own recognizance, records show.

When prosecutors tacked on one count each of murder and second-degree murder in October, Loza was only issued a summons for a hearing only attended by his attorney in December.

That Loza has not faced a judge has perplexed the Steyers, who say they are disappointed with the criminal justice system.

They said that in a March 11 meeting with prosecutors, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson blamed Loza’s lack of bail on a “quirk” in the system.

Citing an open investigation, Wolfson declined to comment.

Baucum’s executive assistant said that the bail concerns would be addressed during the preliminary hearing.

“Going by the rules, you leave him free forever,” a teary-eyed Mihaela Steyer said about Loza.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.