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  • Suspects are fighting extradition in Nevada murder of a 3-year-old girl and attempted murder of her 10-year-old sister

By Myrna Trauntvein
Times-News Correspondent

Two teenage murder suspects are fighting extradition from Utah to Nevada, where they are wanted in a butcher-knife wielding crime that left a 3-year-old girl dead and her 10-year-old sister paralyzed.

Beau Santino Maestas, 19, and his 16-year-old sister, Monique Maestas, were picked up on Interstate-15 near Nephi on Wednesday.

"They (UHP troopers) were actually out there on the interstate watching for this possible subject to come through and sure enough there it was," Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Doug McCleve said.

The three occupants of the vehicle were arrested and taken to Juab County Jail where they were held for the hearings on Friday.

The Maestas's both refused extradition during their separate hearings in 4th District Court on Friday in Nephi.

The sibling suspects, who police say stabbed two girls inside their Mesquite, Nev., mobile home, killing one and wounding the other, are fighting extradition from Utah.

Both suspects are scheduled to be back in court on Feb. 21 for a hearing before 4th District Judge Donald J. Eyre Jr.

The brother and sister were charged as adults by the Clark County Nevada District Attorney's Office Thursday on a fugitive warrant. Under Nevada law, a person charged with murder is automatically certified as an adult.

Each faces charges in Nevada of murder, attempted murder, burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery, all felonies. Additionally, both were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, a gross misdemeanor.

Judge Eyre ordered the Maestas's held in the Juab County jail but suggested Monique Maestas be taken to a juvenile detention facility in Provo since she is 16 and the facility there would better accommodate her age.

A third person, Sabrina Bantam, 18, girlfriend of Beau Maestas, was released Thursday.

Security Friday in the Fourth District Courtroom in the Juab County Center was tight. Both suspects wore bulletproof vests over orange jail jumpsuits and were flanked by court officers, including Juab County Sheriff Orme.

Police investigating the stabbing murder of Kristyana Cowen have recovered two knives and bloody articles of clothing from an abandoned gas station in Millard County near I-15 suspected to be linked to a Wednesday morning attack in Mesquite that left Cowen dead of multiple stab wounds and critically injured her 10-year-old sister, Brittney Bergeron.

An attempt to locate the trio was broadcast to law enforcement officers around the state Wednesday morning. Troopers were told to look for an individual wanted for murder out of Mesquite driving a white Honda Accord, Nevada license plate 099-NBR.

The broadcast stated the male was believed to be traveling with his sister to the Magna or Murray area.

After hearing the vehicle and suspect description, UHP troopers Kory Wright and Greg Kelsey parked their vehicles on the side of the freeway watching for any cars matching the description given by Mesquite authorities.

"The system worked flawlessly in this case," said McCleve.

The troopers took all three individuals into custody without incident at approximately 7:45 a.m., McCleve said.

Lt. Matt Alberto and another detective both of the Nevada Department of Public Safety's Division of Investigations traveled to Nephi and interviewed Beau Maestas in connection with the slaying.

More details of the attack were revealed Friday in an arrest warrant affidavit filed by the Clark County, Nev., district attorney.

According to the six-page document, Beau Santino Maestas implicated himself and his teenage sister in the crimes. In his statement, he blamed the attack on an argument over money spent on drugs in a deal gone wrong.

The children were stabbed about 1:55 a.m. in the trailer at the Casa Blanca casino-resort RV park, while Bergeron, who is unemployed, and her boyfriend were inside the casino.

The suspect pounded on the door to the family's trailer, yelling that the girl's mother had been hurt, according to the affidavit.

The attack occurred after the 10-year-old opened the door.

The suspect fled Mesquite northward with his teenage sister and an 18 year-old girlfriend, police said. The suspect had lived in the Salt Lake City area, but recently moved to Mesquite to live with his grandmother.

Beau Maestas tried to take the blame for the stabbings, at one point telling police "he had both knives and used both knives to stab both of the girls," the affidavit stated.

He also told police he "did not intend to hurt the girls but that they were screaming very loudly and wouldn't stop."

Maestas borrowed a set of kitchen knives from his girlfriend's father. He told his girlfriend "he was going to make right getting jacked around on the narcotics deal," the affidavit stated.

Maestas' girlfriend stayed in the car as Beau Maestas and his sister went to the trailer where the couple live, according to the affidavit.

When they returned, both had blood on their hands and clothes and were "extremely excited and yelling," the affidavit stated. They also told the girlfriend they had "killed two little girls."

According to the affidavit, the three went to the house where the Maestas's' grandmother lived. Beau Maestas took a shower and he and his sister changed their clothes. After washing the bloody knives, they wrapped them up in their discarded clothes and towels.

After calling some friends in West Valley City, Beau Maestas, his sister and girlfriend left Mesquite and headed north on I-15.

Nevada law requires at least one aggravating circumstance to accompany a murder for the case to become eligible for a death penalty prosecution. Prosecutors claim three aggravating circumstances: A murder occurred during the commission of a burglary, a murder occurred during the commission of a robbery, and the victim was younger than 14.

Evidence will be examined at the Las Vegas Metro Police Department's Criminalistics Lab. Maestas' white Honda Accord was also transported via tow truck from a holding facility in Juab County to the same lab.

"The car remained sealed and received a Utah Highway Patrol escort to the Utah border, where Nevada authorities took custody of the vehicle," said McCleve.

Maestas was a Utah resident but was living in Mesquite at the time of the murder. He was a junior at Cyprus High School in the Granite School District but records show he transferred out in December 2000.

Maestas has no known history of violence but does have a history of drug charges out of California.