Arjin Pechpho and 4-yr-old son, Johnathan Smith

Man murdered two neighbors

By Peter O’Connell
Review-Journal

The U.S. Supreme Court will not consider the case of a convicted murderer who said his execution would violate the terms of an international treaty.

Michael Domingues was 16 in 1993 when he killed Arjin Pechpho, 24, and her 4-year-old son, Johnathan Smith, at their home in Las Vegas. Domingues, who lived next door, was sentenced to death a year later by a Clark County jury.

He subsequently sought to have that sentence overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court on the grounds it is an illegal sentence under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

That treaty, ratified by the Senate in 1992, stipulates that a death sentence shall not be imposed on people who commit crimes before age 18 or against pregnant women.
In a 3-2 decision, the Nevada Supreme Court in July 1998 pointed out that although the Senate ratified the treaty, it also reserved the right to impose capital punishment on any person, including those under 18.

Domingues then sought to take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court on Monday rejected his appeal. . .

Domingues, now 22, was 17 years old when he was sentenced to die. He was the youngest person in modern history to receive a death sentence in Nevada.

Prosecutors contended that Domingues went to Pechpho’s residence at 4017 Maple Hill Road to steal her car. They said the teen-ager waited inside the residence for the woman and her son to return with the vehicle, then killed them both to eliminate witnesses.

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