Las Vegas man charged with murder in 2012 shaken baby case

Business USA Vegas News

A Las Vegas man has been charged with first-degree murder in the 2018 death of a 5-year-old girl, who died years after authorities say she was violently shaken.

Willie Hooker, 29, was booked Sunday into the Clark County Detention Center. Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer confirmed Monday that the murder charge stemmed from a 2012 child abuse case.

Clark County District Court records show Hooker was convicted of child abuse for wounding then-infant Nay’Vaha Hamm in October 2012. Court records indicate Hooker briefly dated the child’s mother, and he was suspected of shaking the baby while he was babysitting her.

Pediatrician Elizabeth Thorpe testified during a preliminary hearing for Hooker in 2012 that the baby was rushed to the hospital with an apparent brain injury and “never breathed on her own” after arriving at the hospital. Another physician said the baby was left in a vegetative state.

Investigators said during the preliminary hearing that Hooker told them he picked the child up, noticed she was having some sort of seizure and rushed her to the hospital.

Nay’Vaha died July 6, 2018, of complications from remote abusive trauma, according to the Clark County coroner’s office. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Hooker pleaded guilty to the child abuse charge in August 2013. He was sentenced in February 2014 to five to 12½ years in prison.

A status hearing in the murder case is set for January 2020, according to court records.

Contact Glenn Puit at or 702-383-0390. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Rio Lacanlale contributed to this report.

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