Matthew Minker was only 17 years old. His friends described him as “a kind soul.” Parents described him as “a good kid.” He had just finished his junior year at Silverado High School and was set to graduate the next school year.
He and a group of other teenage boys gathered together at an abandoned Henderson house earlier this month when the tragedy occurred. Now, one innocent teen is dead, and two others are facing serious charges that will require the help of a qualified Las Vegas criminal defense attorney.
“We know this wasn’t Russian roulette,” his mother, Jamie Shankin, told the LV Review-Journal last week. “My kid was shot in the chin like they were shutting him up.”
Understanding the Details of The Crime
According to the police documents, Jaiden Caruso, 16, and Kody Harlan, 17, cleaned up the scene of the crime and hid Matthew’s body inside a closet downstairs under a plastic sheet. Detectives said that the boys never called 911 to render aid.
As well, the words “F*** Matt” had been spray-painted on the closet door where Matthew’s body was found. Detectives described in their report the act as “heinous.”
Jamie Shankin explained that one of the suspects, Jaiden, had a ‘beef’ with her son and was only pretending they were friends. She claims that Matthew would never have gotten into the car to go to the gathering at the Henderson house if he’d known Jaiden was going to be there.
An Arrest is Made After a Car Crash
The boys never reported their crime; it was only after a short vehicle pursuit that Henderson police learned of the shooting and later found Matthew in the house. Police said they attempted to pull over a stolen Mercedes being driven recklessly by Harlan, but after the Mercedes blew a red light and crashed into some foliage, several teens got out and ran away. They were caught and taken into custody, where the details of the killing were revealed.
Henderson Officer Scott Williams told the RJ that Matthew’s killing “shocked the conscience” of the entire police department. “This one will stick with you,” he said, “because it’s so sinister.”
Caruso and Harlan are being charged as adults in Matthew’s death. Caruso faces charges of murder with a deadly weapon and robbery. Harlan faces charges of being an accessory to murder after the fact, destroying evidence and robbery.
How Did the Murder Occur?
According to Harlan, Caruso pulled out a .375 caliber revolver for a game of Russian roulette. However, Caruso never allowed other participants to handle the firearm or pull the trigger themselves.
Increasingly disturbing is the fact that several videos were made of the scene.
In one of those videos, Caruso speaks into the camera and says “Bro, I just caught a body.” In another, a voice can be heard in the background asking what to do with Matthew’s body. Caruso says nothing but calmly walks to the sink and washes his hands.
The videos were posted on Snapchat.
A Confession and a Grieving Mother
Inside the stolen Mercedes, police found Matthew’s wallet and the revolver. When presented with this evidence, Caruso broke down and admitted his involvement, claiming he was high on Xanax at the time.
While at the mortuary last week, Matthew’s mom told the RJ, “I’ve been mourning for days, and now I feel my anger.”
“My baby never came home,” she said.