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.