Man pleads guilty in hiding of body

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 22 2006 12:00 a.m. MDT

WEST JORDAN — Jasen Andrew Calacino pleaded guilty Monday to abuse/desecration of a human body, a third-degree felony, in connection with his involvement in hiding the body of a friend who overdosed on drugs.

Third District Court Judge Royal Hansen dismissed another third-degree felony charge of obstruction of justice on Monday as part of a plea bargain. A third charge of negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor, had already been dismissed.

Calacino, 20, was charged in connection with the drug overdose death of Amelia Sorich, 18, who died June 25, 2005. Calacino and his then-girlfriend, Macall Aubrey Petersen, 19, were with Sorich that night, and Petersen admitted she injected Sorich with a dose of heroin and cocaine that proved too strong.

Calacino testified previously that he repeatedly pleaded with Petersen to call 911 when it became clear something was wrong with Sorich, but his girlfriend didn't want police or paramedics involved because of her previous run-ins with the law.

The following morning, Calacino tried CPR on Sorich but could not revive her. He and Petersen panicked and hid Sorich's body in the foothills near Bountiful.

The crimes occurred over a weekend. Calacino turned himself in to police the following Monday and confessed to what happened.

A pre-sentence report will be prepared for Calacino before he is sentenced in October.

The judge in May sentenced Petersen to the maximum term of one year in jail and zero-to-five years in prison.

Kathryn and Mike Sorich, the victim's parents, told the judge they were satisfied with Calacino's plea bargain. Kathryn Sorich said she had heard Calacino wanted to go to trial, so she called his lawyer and urged him to agree to the plea agreement.

Outside the courtroom, Mike Sorich said he wants "an appropriate sentence" for Calacino because he is perhaps even more responsible for the tragic death of his daughter than Petersen.

"If he had taken responsibility, he could have overridden Macall," Mike Sorich said.

Sorich added he would be pleased once the sentencing is finished so his family can be out of the spotlight and have some closure.

Prosecutor Sean Torriente said he found this to be "a good resolution."

Defense attorney Greg Skordas said this was one step in the process, with the sentencing yet to come.

"Jasen's a good kid, he's got no drug problems, no criminal history, he never missed a court date, he's working full-time and going to school full-time," Skordas said. "This is just a tragic event in his life."


E-mail: lindat@desnews.com

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