82°F
weather icon Clear

BC psychologist arrested on murder charge

Boulder City psychologist Gregory “Brent” Dennis was arrested Feb. 2 in connection with the January 2015 slaying of his wife, Henderson attorney Susan Winters, whose death was originally ruled a suicide.

Dennis, 54, who runs a Boulder City mental health clinic, was charged with open murder with a deadly weapon. He was freed after 9 p.m. Monday from the Henderson Detention Center after his lawyers posted $250,000 bail earlier in the day. Prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed to the bail amount.

Henderson Justice of the Peace Sam Bateman ordered Dennis to surrender his passport and told him he may not leave the state without court permission.

Late Tuesday, the Nevada Board of Psychological Examiners issued an emergency order suspending his license.

The board’s suspension order was effective at 7 p.m. Tuesday and alleges that to allow Dennis to continue practicing as a psychologist “would be a danger to the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Nevada.”

According to the order, the board reviewed a copy of the 27-page declaration of arrest before suspending Dennis and found that it was “credible” and provided sufficient grounds to take emergency action.

Practicing psychology under the influence of any controlled substance is “gross malpractice” under Nevada law, the order states. And dependence on a controlled substance constitutes professional incompetence.

Dennis’ lawyer Richard Schonfeld said late Tuesday that he was disappointed with the order.

Based mainly on information provided by Dennis, the Clark County coroner’s office concluded that Winters, a part-time North Las Vegas judge, killed herself by consuming a lethal amount of prescription painkillers and antifreeze at the Henderson home she shared with Dennis and their two daughters.

But in the declaration of arrest obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Henderson police Detective Ryan Adams alleged that Dennis originally lied to police about his wife’s death and had a financial motive to kill her.

Dennis stood to inherit roughly $2 million, including a $1 million life insurance policy, upon his wife’s death and was dealing with a cocaine addiction that was draining his finances, according to the report.

Adams concluded in the arrest report that Dennis contacted the couple’s bank more than 9½ hours before he called 911 on the morning of Jan. 3, 2015, to report his wife was unresponsive in bed.

He inquired about the balance in the joint account and later wrote a check for more than $180,000 to ensure that he would get the money before his wife’s parents prevented him from gaining access to the account, according to the report.

Dennis also was concerned that his wife would divorce him over his addiction and harm his professional livelihood by making it public, Adams wrote.

Attorney Anthony Sgro, who represents Winters’ parents, said the family is relieved now that Dennis has been charged.

“Their faith in our criminal justice system has been restored, and they are grateful to the district attorney’s office, as well as the Henderson Police Department, for reopening this investigation and drawing the same conclusion that the family did, which is that Susan did not take her own life,” Sgro said.

In another development, a Family Court hearing Tuesday centered on custody of the couple’s two teenage daughters.

After his arrest, Dennis lost custody of the daughters, 17 and 14, who have been placed with the longtime office manager of his Boulder City clinic. The girls are reportedly living with Sue Berg, who has worked with Dennis since he started his practice in 1995.

Lawyers for the Winters family appeared in court Tuesday and indicated that the family is willing to take custody of the girls.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4564. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter. Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter

THE LATEST
The Eagle has landed

City crews help align the eagle at the new welcome sign Monday morning. The $75,000 sign, which is funded by the city, will not only welcome those coming to town but also honors the Boulder City High School Eagles.

Tract 350 sale approved

Whether it will be enough to fund the projected $40 million-plus pool complex the city would like to build is still — given the realities of the current inflationary economic environment — an open question.

City’s pet licensing proposal still in limbo

As the proposal to allow for a license for pet breeding, as well as the keeping of more animals than the three currently allowed by city code that came within inches of becoming law in March of this year, appears to be in some kind of limbo. After it was tabled, and has not yet been rescheduled to come back before the city council, a related case recently came before the municipal court.

Students learn the fine art of guitar making

Jimi Hendrix, considered by many to be the greatest guitarist ever, once said of his craft, “Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you’ll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you’ll be rewarded.”