The New York Times reported Tuesday that the woman who allegedly drove her car into a crowd during the Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas, may have been suffering from insomnia. Apparently, she with her three-year-old daughter in the vehicle, had been repeatedly forced to leave parking lots where the two were trying to get some sleep.
The woman was identified as Lakeisha Holloway (24). She was formally charged on Tuesday with the murder of Jessica Valenzuela (32), of Buckeye, Arizona, and other lesser charges in connection with the non-fatal injuries of several others who were impacted when Holloway’s car crashed, placing at least 35 people in critical condition. Of note is Halloway’s alleged distress preceding the tragic accident. She had apparently undergone a period of acute stress resembling insomnia as she was unable to find a place for she and her daughter to rest.
Somehow, Holloway ended up driving down the crowded Las Vegas Strip, inexplicably driving onto a sidewalk. to drive onto the sidewalk. Steve Wolfson, the Clark County District Attorney stated that, “This is a horrendous and inexcusable act that has needlessly and tragically impacted countless lives.” Wolfson believes that there will be additional charges filed as the investigation progresses, perhaps even seeking the “death penalty for Ms. Holloway.”
Currently, 31 states including Nevada, still have the death penalty on the books as an option for judicial punishment. 19 states including Alaska (1957 = year abolished), Connecticut (2012), Hawaii (1957), Illinois (2011), Iowa (1965), Maine (1887), Maryland (2013), Massachusetts (1984), Michigan (1846), Minnesota (1911), Nebraska (2015), New Jersey (2007), New Mexico (2009) New York (2007), North Dakota (1973), Rhode Island (1984), Vermont (1964), West Virginia (1965), Wisconsin (1853), and the District of Columbia (1981) have stricken the death penalty from lawful retribution.
Earlier this year, the Connecticut Supreme Court struck down the death penalty, citing that it was, “… in violation of the state’s constitution… The ruling means that the death sentences of those who were not covered by the legislative repeal will now have those sentences reduced to life.” A statement in solidarity claimed, “[W]e are persuaded that, following its prospective abolition, this state’s death penalty no longer comports with contemporary standards of decency and no longer serves any legitimate penological purpose,” said Judge Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Cir. One aversion to the death penalty is that innocent persons might end up receiving the charge and be wrongly executed.
The Associated Press reported that Public Defender, Scott Coffee said that Ms. Holloway is under suicide watch at the Clark County jail. Ms. Holloway self-reported being clear of any drug or alcohol influence at the time of the incident. However, any toxicology report(s) have yet to be released. It is however scientifically proven that chronic lack of sleep can induce a psychological state much like that of drunkenness.
This new tragedy only saddens Ms. Holloway’s personal story of homelessness in her freshman year of high school as her mother struggled with alcohol abuse. Despite victories such as being a high school graduate and a first generation college student, Holloway was obviously under duress recently. The fact that she was perusing parking lots for a place to sleep, speaks volumes about her then current socioeconomic situation. She obviously did not have a friend to turn to that she might have asked to spend the night. She also likely could not afford a hotel stay. It is also likely that Holloway was yet homeless at the time of the incident.