By Jack Johnson, Boulder City Review
Former Boulder Township Constable Larry Markotay was found dead Tuesday evening at a Henderson hotel-casino, the result of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Markotay’s body was found by Henderson police after he failed to appear for the second day of a District Court trial where he was defending felony counts related to the break-in of his ex-girlfriend’s home.
His death was confirmed by his family and in the courtroom Wednesday morning. District Judge Sally Loehrer ended the trial and told the jurors, “It’s very infrequent that these types of things happen.”
In a statement to the Boulder City Review, the family thanked the jurors and the judge for their service, however, “Larry couldn’t handle the betrayal and pain he has suffered through this. Please remember him as a kind and good man, who served his community and fellow officers with total devotion and care. He will be missed by his family and friends, and he was loved.”
The family is planning a celebration of Markotay’s life for Friday, May 4, at the Multi-use Building next to the pool.
Henderson Police spokesman Keith Paul said police responded to Sunset Station after receiving a 911 call around 5:20 p.m. Tuesday about a possible suicidal subject staying in a room. The police were contacted by members of Markotay’s family in the hotel lobby.
The police discovered the body of a 44-year-old male in one of the rooms, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Markotay was born July 4, 1967.
Markotay’s death comes while he was facing eight felony charges, including burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon, three counts of grand larceny of a firearm, three counts of possession of stolen property, and theft.
During Monday’s court proceedings, for which Markotay was present, state prosecutors argued that Markotay stole three handguns from ex-girlfriend Cathleen Winterrowd after breaking into her Boulder City home in February 2010.
Prosecutors argued that Markotay also stole a computer from Winterrowd’s home, which he then took to his own home to read Winterrowd’s email correspondences with a new boyfriend, then returned the computer back to her residence.
Markotay’s defense, led by Boulder City attorney Roger Harris, depicted a man with judgment clouded by a prescription drug addiction who owned the guns in question. Harris also argued that the computer was not stolen because it was returned.
“Bad things that he did, true,” Harris said in his opening argument. “(But) he’s not a burglar. He’s not a thief.”
Winterrowd, who was once engaged to and lived with Markotay, was called as a witness for the prosecution Monday. She detailed the unraveling relationship, as well as the events of the burglary and the ownership of the guns, which she had received from Markotay as gifts, she said.
“He never said he was loaning (the guns) to me. He said he wanted me to have them,” she said.
Boulder City Police Officer Paul Daly also testified Monday, detailing the scene of the February 2010 car accident that led to Markotay’s burglary-related charges.
As a result of that accident, Markotay was charged with driving under the influence, but his sentence was reduced to reckless driving in August 2011.
The crash sparked an investigation that led to Markotay’s arrest on felony burglary/firearm charges in March 2010. He was indicted by a grand jury on the charges in January 2011.
When Markotay did not arrive at court Tuesday morning and neither Harris nor Markotay’s family could contact him, Loehrer continued the trial in his absence.
Tuesday’s proceedings had witness testimony from five others, including Officer Michael Daniel, who arrested Markotay on the charge of driving under the influence, and a computer expert who verified that Winterrowd’s email account had been accessed from Markotay’s cable modem.
Also taking the witness stand were David Cole, animal control officer and friend of Markotay’s who was in the vehicle at the time of the accident, Winterrowd’s 20-year-old daughter, and Boulder City Police Detective Scott Pastore, who was in charge of the burglary investigation.
State prosecutors played an emotional recording of Boulder City Police Detective Tiffany Driscoll and Pastore interviewing Markotay about the burglary, during which Pastore coaxes Markotay into a confession of breaking into Winterrowd’s home and taking two guns.
Markotay, crying and saying he was scared of going to jail where he believed he would not be given medication that he needed, told Pastore, “I’ve been shot at. I’ve been stabbed. I’ve had the shit kicked out of me. I’ve been hit by a car. My body can’t take much more.”
No one other than the Boulder City Review and Markotay’s father and sister, who were both to be called as defense witnesses, attended the trial.
If he had been convicted, Harris believes that because Markotay had a clean record, he likely would have received probation with little or no jail time.
Markotay was elected constable in 1998 and served until he resigned from his position in March 2010. In that time he also served as Boulder City’s code enforcement officer.
Markotay recently made the news when he lost control of a Jeep Grand Cherokee he was driving on March 26, causing damage to three vehicles on Adams Boulevard.
There were no drugs or alcohol involved in the incident, but he was cited for failing to operate his vehicle with full-time attention.
Editor Arnold M. Knightly contributed to the report.