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Informant says efforts saved witnesses in bodybuilder case

A new story from our main reporter Glenn Puit of the Las Vegas Review Journal. This story was written by Glenn for the Review Journal:

Until now, Deen Cassim has kept quiet.

But this week, the informant in the Craig Titus murder case spoke publicly for the first time and said he believes his undercover work with Las Vegas police last year deterred the murders of three witnesses prepared to testify against the national bodybuilder.

“If I acted any different, today there would be three dead witnesses,” Cassim said from London. “I couldn’t allow three innocent people to possibly get killed.”

Titus, 42, is a former competitor in the Mr. Olympia competition. He and his fitness champion wife, Kelly Ryan, 34, are charged with killing acquaintance Melissa James in December 2005 in Las Vegas.

After the couple’s arrest on murder charges, an acquaintance of Titus, Nelson Brady Jr., was charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill three people in Titus’ trial, which is scheduled for April.

Titus and Brady deny that they were planning to try to kill anyone, and Titus has not been charged in connection with the alleged murder-for-hire plot.

Cassim said Titus was involved in the plan. “Craig knew exactly what was what … (he) knew exactly what was going on,” Cassim said.

When told of Cassim’s comments, Titus’ attorney, Marc Saggese, called Cassim a “professional worm” and liar and accused Cassim of making up the murder-for-hire allegations to get himself out of a lengthy stint in prison for robbery.

“Everyone has been played the fool in this matter except for Deen Cassim,” Saggese said. “The only winner in this is Cassim, who tricked authorities into letting him out of jail.”

Cassim was arrested in Las Vegas in 2004 on charges of attempting to rob champion poker player Greg “the Fossilman” Raymer with another man at the Bellagio.

Cassim said that he was a regular, high-stakes gambler at the Bellagio and that he did not rob Raymer.

But Cassim was convicted of attempted robbery. He was appealing the conviction and was still housed at the detention center when he alleges Brady solicited him.

Cassim had been sentenced to three to 12 years in prison. But after his work as an informant, he was resentenced to probation, and Cassim said he now lives in London.

Cassim said Clark County prosecutor Robert Daskas, who declined to comment for this story, did not want to resentence him after his cooperation with police, but Cassim’s attorney convinced Daskas that Cassim’s life would be in danger in prison once word of his informant status became public.

“I would have been killed in jail or an attempt on my life would have been made,” Cassim said.

Cassim said he is “on vacation” in London and could return to the United States if his testimony is needed.

But Brady’s attorney, Erick Ferran, questioned how Cassim could be in London while on probation

“It is extremely interesting he would be allowed to leave the country,” Ferran said. “The only way I can see that happening is if he’d been deported. If Mr. Cassim is unavailable for trial, they’ll run into substantial difficulties for making their case.”

Cassim, in an interview conducted by e-mail and phone, said he was housed at the Clark County Detention Center last year when Brady approached him.

“He said he was given my name by another friend because he was looking for somebody to do a job that required possible witness intimidation and more if needed,” Cassim said.

He said the request from Brady prompted police to use a ruse in which Cassim negotiated the hiring of a hit man named “Fred,” and police recorded more than 100 phone calls between Brady, Cassim, Titus and others.

“I had to be very convincing on the phone as I was acting the part of a middleman in a very complex case that involved killing three people and $50,000,” Cassim said.

Brady did not show for three separate meetings with an undercover officer, and Brady’s attorneys have said Cassim threatened Brady when he failed to show.

Cassim said he did not threaten Brady but did act tough with him at times.

“There was no entrapment here at all, just a business deal being made that supposedly involved me making $50,000,” Cassim said.

7 Responses to “Informant says efforts saved witnesses in bodybuilder case”

  1. Carl Lanore Says:

    You can listen to the two unedited recorded phone conversations between Dean Cassim and Nelson Brady Jr. and Craig Titus and Nelson Brady Jr. regarded by some as conversations related to the murder-for-hire plot at the Super Human Radio website - www.superhumanradio.com.

    They are in the Member area and you will need to join first in order to listen to them. Membership is free.

  2. Jason G Says:

    Ther are another twelve (12) recorded calls from the jail of Titus to Brady and Cassim to Brady that will bring these conversations together. The 12 were originally posted by crime reporter Glenn Puit of the Las Vegas Review Journal last December 17, 2006. The headline was, “Titus targets witnesses’ credibility.” Go to: www.reviewjournal.com/webextras/titus/

    In carefully listening to these conversations and comparing the statements and language (words) used I believe you will understand what you hear.

    Informant Cassim was the “driving force in murder-for-hire probe.” (RJ 12/17/06) Cassim threatened Brady and his family with bodily harm and death. Now Cassim says, “he did not threaten Brady but did act tough with him at the time.” Listen to these tapes! Since when do you have to threaten a man, (Brady) in order to make him go through with a murder-for-hire plot IF that plot was Brady’s plot (idea) in the first place?? And aren’t the police and DA sitting right there with Cassim during these conversations or was Cassim provided a private phone in his jail cell?

    Brady, Cassim and Titus NEVER use the word “Murder” in any conversation. It does appear to me that Titus and Brady did have some type of a code, however, this “code” appears to be related to working with the police narcotics officers. The hedline above, “Titus targets witnesses’ credibility,” is referring to drug sales and use by witnesses’ Consider the statement made by Titus in tape #9 of the Review Journal talking about his daughter, the witnesses in question and the use and sale of drugs. Titus says, “we won’t even have to publish a book. You know these guys can take care of everything dude, JUST BY ARRESTING THESE PEOPLE BRO.”

    This is becoming scary. Cassim said, “Clark County Prosecutor Robert Daskas did not want to resentence him after his cooperation with police.” Now its “DASKAS” who is prosecuting Titus and Brady while letting Cassim scate form a 12 year prison sentence?? Sounds to me like DA Daskas is orchestrating all of the action in these cases. What about Cassim being on probation and in London?? That just cannot be possible.

    Here is my last one for now. Cassim says, “He (Brady) was given my name by another friend because he (Brady) was looking for sombody to do a job that required POSSIBLE WITNESS INTIMIDATION and more IF needed.” POSSIBLE WITNESS INTIMIDATION??? I thaught this was a murder-for-hire plot???

  3. chainsaw Says:

    Jason:

    I can appreciate you’re research, I heard the same thing listening to these tapes. All Daskas did was let a criminal go, and I hope he is deported for good. Better they have him in England to deal with than here.

  4. venice Says:

    I’ve mentioned it before, but in light of what’s come out in the alleged murder for hire scheme it seems very plausible that Daskas screwd up pretty bad.

    I wonder what the impqct might be on the murder trial.

  5. chainsaw Says:

    Venice:

    I think you could be right. No wonder Cassim is in London. If he was gonna testify for anyone, they probably wouldn’t have deported him, which I’m sure is what they had done.

  6. Jason G Says:

    What impact will this alleged “murder-for-hire” scheme have on the Titus/Ryan murder trial?? Remember the impact on the O.J. Simpson trial when it was discovered that the lead decetive lied about a certain racial remark? In this case, someone in power is not being truthfull relating to this murder-for-hire plot and IF this is true, YES, I believe it will have a big impact on the Titus/Ryan trial. When I consider everything that I have read, I believe this “murder-for-hire” scheme was set into motion by the Chief DA prosecuting Attorney, Robert Daskas with the specific intent to discredit Titus in his up coming murder trial.

    Consider this, in any prosecutorial case that involves a conspiracy there must be a conspirator AND conspirators. The law states that THESE are the ones to be prosecuted. THE CRIME IS, “TO SET IN MOTION A CRIMINAL SCHEME AND INVOLVE OTHERS.” In this case DA Daskas, and or the police investigators, went to the informant Cassim, (or visa versa) and set this scheme in motion. Is there any doubt that Cassim was an agent of the authorities (DA or Police) when he made over 100 recorded telephone calls from the jail to Brady?? That being the case, the authirities threatened Brady with bodily harm into breaking the law and then prosecute him for breaking the law they induced him to break. The function of law enforcement does not include the MANUFACTORING of a crime. A different question is presented when the criminal design originates with the officials of government.

    If it had been Brady who went to Cassim to set this plan into motion, why is Cassim threating Brady, (or “acting tough” with Brady as Cassim states in the Las Vegas Review Journal 02/20/06) to go through with this murder-for-hire scheme?? If it had been Brady who started this plot, it would have been Brady threating Cassim??

    DA Daskas. Was it DA Daskas who was the lead prosecutor in the Rick Tabish/Sandra Murphy re-trial who lost this re-trial to the law firm of Cristalli & Saggese? It is DA Daskas who is prosecutor in the Titus/Ryan murder case and again Cristalli & Saggese who are defending Titus & Ryan?? Any rivalry here?? Would DA Daskas “cross the line” to assure himself of a win at this trial since the last one with Cristalli & Saggese was lost. That was an embarrassing trial to loose for Daskas.

    Now, DA Daskas is prosecuting Titus/Ryan for alleged murder and Brady for murder-for-hire. Did you know that it was DA Daskas himself who negotiated Cassim’s “re-sentencing” and release from a 12 year prision sentence directly with Judge Joe Bonaventure in chambers on May 23, 2006?? How convenient.

    Is it possiable that it was the same police detectives who investigated and arrested Titus and Ryan and are the same police detectives who investigated (the Brady set-up ) and arrested Brady for the alleged murder-for-hire scheme??? My guess is that we fill find this too, to be true.

    I feel sorry for Cassim as he is trying very hard to be “a hero” in this case. The only thing that would help him is to take the true story to Brady’s or Titus attorney. A true story that matches the evidence is the only way he would “look good.”

    DA Daskas will NEVER allow Cassim to testify in this case. He will cause or create delay’s until the last minute and then “dismiss” the case because Cassim will be a no show. The sad thing about this is that Daskas knowes this and still allows Brady to sit in solitary confinement. This adds to his crime.

  7. darkstar Says:

    I think you may be giving too much credit to Daskas in cooking up a plot of this magnitude…

    Backing up for just a second, the not guilty verdict in the Binion retrial got much of its traction from the Nevada Supreme Court ruling that overturned the murder convictions of Tabish and Murphy, not to mention that having a second go at the case, knowing the mistakes that had been made in the first case, made it a lot easier to defend. The first trial was completely screwed up by the defense. They were horrible. Any idiot could have retried that case the second time and gotten an acquittal. Frankly they should have been acquitted the first time.

    So, I dont think Daskas has much by way of a rivalry here…

    Secondly, while Daskas may have negotiated the resentencing of Cassim, the judge had to put the stamp of approval on it, not Daskas. The person you should be looking at is Judge Bonaventure, who ironically was the judge in both Binion trials.

    Remember also that CT has not been charged with the conspiracy to murder the witnesses. Show me a way that the defense will bring that into the murder trial…why would they bring up something that CT has not been charged with? The DA would have a field day with that. It will not come in to the case in chief.

    That is why CT hasnt been charged…it aint coming in…

    d*

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