Las Vegas newspaper stricken with schizophrenia over Strip shooting ‘victim’

It was the best of Kenny. It was the worst of Kenny.

The front page story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal depicted Kenny Cherry Jr., who was shot to death on the Strip Thursday morning, as an aspiring musician who was “a good kid who was only playing a tough-guy role in his YouTube videos.”


Kenneth Cherry Sr. cries as he talks during a news conference Saturday. (R-J photo by John Locher)

The column by John L. Smith on page 1B described Cherry as a “stone pimp who beat his women and spent the money they earned turning tricks in Strip casinos,” and, “Despite having no visible means of income, he drove a Maserati and stayed in a $2,900-a-month condominium …”

The front page story — replete with photos of a grieving father and under the headline “Father of slain aspiring rapper says he was a good kid” — never uses the word pimp and only mentions prostitution in connection with the suspect in Cherry’s slaying.

At least some editor with a sense of continuity and contrast had the good sense to “refer” to John L.’s column from the 20A jump of the news story in the print edition. Online you get no such courtesy.

No one apparently dared to scoop the paper’s columnist by inserting in the news story a parenthetical, after one of several laudatory remarks about Cherry Jr., something to the effect: “But others described the slain man as a brutal pimp who beat his prostitutes, as reported by columnist John L. Smith on page 1B today.”

The news story reports:

“As Vicki Greco, Cherry Jr.’s longtime attorney, noted: He had no convictions or any sort of criminal past in Nevada other than speeding tickets. And when he had trouble with a rental car venture he was trying to get off the ground, he didn’t handle the situation like some sort of ‘thug.’ He filed a civil lawsuit instead, she said.”

The columnist — under the headline “Don’t cry for ‘Kenny Clutch,’ (his nom de rap) an affliction waiting to happen” — quoted the mother of one of Cherry’s three children:

“‘I had faith and confidence in him and that he wanted a future with me. I did not know at the time that my future would consist of prostituting myself, getting beaten up by Ken on a regular basis, and being arrested and going to jail 27 times.

“‘I don’t know how to explain how it happened in a way that would make sense to anyone. He said it was ‘no big deal’ and ‘easy money.’

“Before long, she was working six nights a week. Her evening quota was $1,500. Come home without it and face the consequences.

“‘Kenny took every penny I made,’ she said.”

Smith added that Greco was the woman’s criminal attorney. Odd that she was so oblivious to any thuggish behavior on Cherry’s part.

The news story quoted an attorney for the Cherry family as saying “the musical industry is a competitive one, and that passions flare, and jealousy among musicians isn’t uncommon.”

But John L. reported that while Cherry was living with one pregnant prostitute, she had discovered he kept other women — one of them also pregnant — in other area apartments.

Since the news story reports the slaying suspect had an extensive criminal history that includes arrests for sexual assault, robbery, kidnapping, coercion and pandering, one might wonder just what “industry” it was that spawned the competition and jealousy.

But nowhere in the newspaper are those dots connected.

14 comments on “Las Vegas newspaper stricken with schizophrenia over Strip shooting ‘victim’

  1. brucefeher says:

    I was amused by the two articles too.

  2. Yes, Bruce, sometimes you just have to point out the obvious to the oblivious.


  3. Steve says:

    I wonder if Kenneth Cherry Sr. sees his granddaughter much.

    Thanks to John L Smith for the background and clarity of the victims life. He may not have deserved to be killed for his actions but we all know where there is smoke its always a good idea to look for the fire and it was clear to many who were watching this, Kenny Cherry was stoking it for most of his life.

    But, reading the RJ lately, it appears the new editors are having a difficult time stripping the paper of its libertarian history, which you and Sherm fostered and is what held the RJ at number one for so many decades.
    Anyone else notice Steve Sebelius is not writing as much lately?

  4. Vernon Clayson says:

    The RJ has no local competition, why wouldn’t it be number one? As for John Smith and his article, it was the most direct thing I’ve seen from him, he should focus on the machinations of politicians as directly.

  5. Steve says:

    Vernon, the RJ was competing against the Sun when I came to Vegas. It was Thomas Mitchell and Sherman Frederick who made the RJ what it became. The Sun only survived from a perceived need for more than one local printed news outlet. Of course TV and Radio were not considered viable alternative news sources until AM came back. Then the internet made all local news as accessible as national and international news. If the RJ had taken longer to beat the Sun that paper would have simply gone DOA instead of JOA.

  6. Steve says:

    I think someone at the RJ noticed the discrepancy of those stories. One seems to be completely missing online.

  7. Athos says:


  8. Steve says:

    Another way of saying should have just died for slow circulation. Joint Operating Agreement.

  9. nyp10025 says:

    Superb article by Steve Brill in Time Magazine about the high cost of healthcare.

    Really excellent journalism.

  10. Steve says:

    Tom has said this before, newspapers simply will not report on themselves. So today John L Smith makes it real clear with his followup and the main story acknowledges Cherry was a pimp.

    I bet you and Sherm at least hid it better, Tom. I feel certain we were at least getting the best efforts at being correct and accurate when it was you guys running the show.

    Keep up the good work John L Smith.

  11. Vernon Clayson says:

    Steve, I moved here in early 1983 and subscribed to both newspapers, the Sun turned flabby when Hank Greenspun died, now it’s a pamphlet. It’s a little like a bovine chewing its cud, that would be refiling the cheapest news flashes from New York and Washington for our enlightenment, the only part I read is the Dilbert cartoon.

  12. Steve says:

    1981 here, Vernon.

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