LAS VEGAS — A 19-year-old man charged with murder in the killing of a Las Vegas mother in a neighborhood gun battle suffered a fractured skull as an infant – an injury that lawyers said could become a factor in the case.

Erich Milton Nowsch Jr.’s father pleaded guilty in 1996 to child abuse for the injury, according to archived Clark County District Court documents. The father killed himself in 2010 at age 39 when his son was 14.

Attorney Augustus Claus said he wants to investigate the extent and effect of the injury on Nowsch before deciding whether to use it in his client’s murder defense.

“Obviously, an injury like that has potential for long-term consequences,” Claus said.

Nowsch also is facing attempted murder and weapon charges in the Feb. 12 shooting that killed Tammy Meyers and involved her 22-year-old son, Brandon Meyers.

The case received international attention after family members said she was the victim of road rage while giving her daughter a driving lesson. Road rage was later revealed to be less a factor than originally thought.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson will consider Nowsch’s childhood injury while deciding whether to seek the death penalty against him. David Stanton, the chief deputy district attorney handling the case, declined to comment.

Dr. Jeffrey Max, neuropsychiatric research director at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, said a doctor evaluating Nowsch would consider the severity of the injury, Nowsch’s personal and family psychiatric history, evidence of defiance, mood swings and violent or impulsive behavior, and even his family income level.

His father’s actions would also come into play, Max said.

“The head injury could be one component of multiple risk factors,” Max said. “It could suggest he had a multitude of factors himself, and a genetic risk toward violence.”

Nowsch Sr. acknowledged in court in 1996 that he dropped the boy on the garage floor while getting out of his truck, recalled Brent Bryson, the father’s defense attorney at the time.

Meyers, 44, was shot in the head after a series of roadway encounters beginning with an altercation heading home from a late-night driving lesson with her 15-year-old daughter.

The story changed dramatically following the revelation that Meyers fetched her 22-year-old son, Brandon Meyers, and his gun and drove around the neighborhood looking for a motorist who frightened her.

Meyers’ husband, Robert Meyers, later said his wife knew Nowsch, at least in passing, and that Nowsch had been to the Meyers family home several times in the past. Meyers didn’t respond this week to messages.