Local NewsCrime


Police report: Couple lured murder victim, wanted to escape to the woods

 Jacob Berkovitz Tonya Dillard.jpg
Posted at 10:19 AM, Mar 28, 2020

APRIL 1 UPDATE: Jacob Berkovitz and Tonya Dillard sought to lure a victim, kill him and escape to the woods together, according to an arrest report released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

The incident began when a friend of Dillard's contacted police on March 27.

According the report, Paige Ferguson went to the Spring Valley area command to report suspicious circumstances involving Dillard, saying that she believed the couple may have killed someone.

Ferguson related how Dillard had contacted her earlier that day and told her that she and her boyfriend had killed and skinned a dog.

Ferguson expressed how strange and disturbing that was to which Dillard replied, "If you think that is strange, I am sitting next to a dead body."

Dillard then told Ferguson about how she and Berkovitz met a man on Craigslist while requesting a ride to California.

The report identifies the victim as Hector Mendez-Hernandez.

She then told Ferguson that Mendez-Hernandez attempted to kiss her at some point, which infuriated Berkovitz, who began to beat the man.

Berkovitz then grabbed a gun and shot the man, accidentally shooting Dillard's finger in the process.

Dillard told Fergson that Berkovitz shot Mendez-Hernandez in the head and then beat him until he stopped moving.

Dillard sent Ferguson pictures of her bloody hand and the dead man to prove her point.

After Ferguson's interview, police immediately set up a surveillance at Mendez-Hernandez' residence on the 2200 block of Colebrook Street.

They soon observed Berkovitz and Dillard exit the residence and drive off in victim's Mercedes.

The report goes on to relate how, after conducting a traffic stop of the vehicle, Berkovitz almost immediately admitted that the body of the man was in the bathroom of the home.

During his interview at police headquarters, Berkovitz reportedlytold police that Mendez-Hernandez had been unarmed when he was shot about 4 times, at least twice in the head, stabbed at least 25 times in the upper torso and beaten with a dumbbell.

He said that he klled the man because Mendez-Hernandez had touched Dillard's thigh and then punched Berkovitz.

When police interviewed Tonya Dillard, she told them that the murder was pre-planned.

She and Berkovitz had hatched a plot where they would lure a victim via Craigslist with the promise of sex.

They would then kill him, take his car and go live in the woods.

Once they had Mendez-Hernandez back at his residence, Dillard distracted him while Berrkovitz opened fire with the gun.

Dillard and Berkovitz were arrested on the charges of murder with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery.

PREVIOUS STORY: Las Vegas police said a homicide is under investigation where a body was discovered inside a home near Lake Mead and Lamb Boulevards Friday evening.

Officers found the body inside a bathroom of the home, located in the 2200 block of North Colebrook Street at about 5 p.m.

RELATED: Las Vegas breaking news for March 27, 2020

Police said they received a tip earlier in the day that a woman and her boyfriend had killed a person. These two were then seen leaving the house when authorities arrived at the scene and were taken into custody.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department later identified the couple as 24-year-old Jacob Berkovitz and 27-year-old Tonya Dillard.

LVMPD homicide detectives said Dillard and Berkovitz had posted a dating ad to lure a person and they had planned to rob and kill who answered.

The investigation determined that a man did respond to the ad and picked up Dillard and Berkovitz on March 27. He then brought them to his residence and once inside the home, the man was robbed and killed.

As a result of the investigation, Dillard and Berkovitz were transported to the Clark County Detention Center for murder with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with a deadly weapon, and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Anyone with further information about the incident was urged to contact the LVMPD Homicide Section at 702-828-3521.