Exclusive: Portaro murder suspect proclaims innocence from jail
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - A young man accused in the high profile murder of Michael Portaro claims he's innocent and knows nothing about the cold-blooded killing.
Brandon Hill spoke out exclusively to Action News from behind bars on Tuesday afternoon.
The 22-year-old admitted to a checkered past but denied any knowledge of Portaro's slaying.
Police however say they've connected Brandon Hill to Portaro's murder with DNA evidence.
On Tuesday, police held a news conference, saying Hill was stopped by officers back in April and charged with carrying a concealed firearm. According to police, after a recent tip, investigators were able to connect that same gun to Portaro's murder.
Hill insists he did not pull the trigger outside the Tenaya Creek Brewery on March 30th.
On the eve of his first court appearance on the murder charge, he described being "confused, upset and angry".
Hill's mug shot has not been released, and police did not want his face filmed, citing the on-going investigation. Though Hill consented to his voice being recorded and answered questions from KTNV reporter Drew Karedes.
"In the end, DNA results are DNA results, and if that is true, that DNA has connected you to this murder, how do you dispute that?," asked Drew Karedes.
Brandon Hill responded, "I'm sure it's got to be some sort of mistake, some sort of technicality or something. I'm pretty confident that this will get straightened out."
Hill says he cooperated when police and SWAT surrounded his mother's northwest home back in May, taking him into custody on unrelated auto grand larceny and robbery charges. He insists, he was blind sided when a detective visited him three weeks later, informing him that he was going to be charged with murder.
"I was just released on house arrest like at the beginning of the year. I was really going on a straight path, so all of this is shocking to me," explained Hill. "I am innocent. I hope to be home soon. I send my condolences to the family. I'm sorry for the loss. I had nothing to do with it."
Hill says he is speaking out to clear his name, despite his attorney's advice to not comment.
Hill is taking no accountability for what homicide detectives call a "blatant, unnecessary" act of violence. Portaro, an aspiring hip hop artist, was gunned down outside the Tenaya Creek Brewery as he was selling tickets to an upcoming concert.
The Faith Lutheran graduate's car was stolen, and police believe that's what Hill was after.
"Can you imagine what the Portaro family is going through, having their beloved son, who had his whole life ahead of him, gone in an instant?," asked Drew Karedes.
Hill replied, "Yeah, I've lost someone in an incident before, and he was only 16, so I can only imagine what they're feeling."
Hill's mother says she's yet to visit her son in jail, and she's torn over whether to wholeheartedly defend him.
"Brandon is not a dangerous person," said mother Brenda Hill. "If this was done by his hands, he had to be influenced by some drugs. Brandon was brought up in the church. Brandon had a vision."
When asked where her son was on the night of March 30th, Brenda said she "believed" he was at home.
"My son's destiny is heaven. My son's destiny is to work for the lord. If Satan had come in and warped his mind or warped his thoughts, warped his actions, let me tell you, it's not by the hands of Brandon," added Brenda Hill.
Michael Portaro's father, Richard, is reacting to Brandon Hills' claims of innocence.
On the telephone, Richard Portaro said, "That's exactly what I expected him to say, but we and the police know better, and the evidence says different."