Jury finds man who fled to Mexico guilty of murdering Glendale salon owner
SALT LAKE CITY — It took jurors just under an hour to reach their decision.
The five-men, three-woman jury returned five quick guilty verdicts against Miguel Mateos-Martinez Wednesday, determining that he shot and killed Faviola Hernandez during a robbery at her Glendale neighborhood salon in 2007.
"My legs are weak, but I feel relieved finding justice for my family," Hernandez's mother, Rosa, said following the reading of the verdict. "I am never going to forgive him."
Mateos-Martinez was charged with aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated robbery, first-degree felonies, and two counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, in the shooting death of Hernandez, 24, on Aug. 15, 2007. The jury found him guilty on all five counts.
When he is sentenced April 12, he faces the possibility of life in prison without parole for the aggravated murder charge.
Attorneys for the 23-year-old man were adamant that he wasn't the armed man who walked into Hernandez's Salt Lake salon and demanded money. Primarily, they said he didn't match the suspect description and didn't have a tattoo on his inner arm, as witnesses described.
"There's just so many reasons to doubt (the state's) case," defense attorney Ralph Dellapiana said. "You only need one, but there are several reasons to doubt Miguel Mateos is a murderer-robber."
But both a woman who testified to being in the getaway car and a former jail inmate said Mateos-Martinez told them he shot the shop owner.
"It was me or her, so I pulled the trigger," prosecutor Patricia Cassell said, paraphrasing a note Mateos-Martinez allegedly passed to a fellow inmate.
According to Cassell, that evidence coupled with the fact that two eyewitnesses separately identified Mateos-Martinez, completed the "puzzle" of the man's guilt.
Mateos-Martinez opened fire on Faviola Hernandez after she went into an adjacent room and returned with a small handgun instead of money. Two witnesses — a client and Hernandez's younger sister — identified Mateos-Martinez soon after the shooting and in court as the robber who fired a single shot into her chest.
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