On May 8, 1997, four days after Iverson would have turned twenty, investigators found Iverson’s body in an unfinished duplex just north of downtown. Construction workers found her body.
When Arthur Lee Sewall, Jr., a former Las Vegas cop, was arrested in January, 2018, Iverson’s sister, Marie Ann Iverson-Coker, looked him up on social media.
“I waited 21 years. I needed to see the last person she saw,” Iverson-Coker said.
Iverson-Coker has barely slept since Sewall was arrested. “After 20-years, everything is back in your face,” she told reporters.
Sewall, 51, a former Metropolitan Police Department cop, had been previously convicted of using his badge to intimidate women for sexual favors.
In March 2016, Iverson’s rape kit was tested. Almost a year later, in February 2017, lab workers found Sewall’s DNA matched the DNA from the kit.
With additional evidence gleaned between February and December, investigators established Sewall as their suspect.
Sewall faced a single charge of murder and two of sexual assault.
Sewall was first arrested during a February 1997 sting operation at the now defunct and closed Del Mar Motel. At the time, Sewall was accused of forcing a woman to perform sex acts while he was on duty. Sewall resigned the next month and killed Iverson the next month.
In 1999, Sewall was sentenced to five years probation. The month Sewall’s probation would expire, LVMPD investigators learned of a months-long string of violations including a gun and knife in Sewall’s home. His probation was revoked and Sewall spent around 18-months behind bars.
In April, 2018, Chief Deputy District Attorney Giancarlo Pesci said Tuesday that the death penalty review team at the Clark County district attorney’s office did not approve pursuit of the most severe punishment Sewall.
Iverson’s rape kit was one of over 6,500 untested kits which had sat around in the evidence locker between 1985 and 2014. A 2015 grant funding the eventual testing. Because of a probation directive, Sewall’s DNA was collected in 1999.
Las Vegas police were recently awarded $2.7 million to test the backlog which included Sewall’s DNA.
During Sewall’s interview with detectives, the former cop admitted to hiring Iverson for sex. Sewall claimed he shot Iverson during the act, but he couldn’t explain why his gun was out or pointed at Iverson.
“I knew she was shot in the head,” Sewall told police. “I left when it happened.”
Investigators found a .357 bullet but no casing. The bullet was ‘consistent’ with a .357 revolver Sewall had registered with LVMPD, according to his arrest warrant.
Iverson-Coker believed Iverson wanted to find love and begin a family. As a preteen, Iverson would jot down her future children’s names.
“She was engaged for a time before splitting up,” Iverson-Coker said. “In a small town, it can be hard to avoid seeing an ex’s face.”
Several weeks later, Iverson met a new guy and vanished. The only items left in her room were a pair of jeans and a cherished leather jacket.
Later, detectives learned Iverson and her boyfriend drove to Las Vegas and started abusing drugs. Her boyfriend was arrested and spent time behind bars. While he was imprisoned, Iverson began working the streets to survive.
“That was hard to process,” Iverson-Coker says now. “I have to learn to accept it.”
Sewall is not protected from prosecution by a ‘statute of limitations.’ Such a statute does not exist in Nevada for murder.
Nicholas Wooldridge, a noted Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney says, “Murder charges are too serious to be without a lawyer. We have defended many clients against murder charges based on both recent cases and based on crimes occurring years before. “