A former cellmate to Fred Alvarez testified Wednesday that he was asked to make sure two witnesses would not testify during his capital murder trial.
Andrew Duggar told a 3rd District Court jury that he shared a jail cell with Alvarez on July 11 and discussed with him the stabbing deaths of Donald Newingham, 39, and his son Shane Newingham, 18, that occurred at a party on June 9.Duggar said that Alvarez returned to his cell in the Salt Lake County Jail with a lot of documents after spending much of the day in his preliminary hearing.
"He was upset because one of his friends was selling him out in the courtroom . . . " Duggar said. "Some Richie kid (Richard Gabaldon) was out on bail and he wasn't."
Alvarez told him that if he made sure witnesses Robert Rivas and Kenny Salas would not testify against him in the trial, "he'd take care of me," Duggar said.
He said Alvarez then wrote down Rivas' and Salas' names, addresses, phone numbers and places where they worked on a torn sheet of paper. That same paper was admitted into evidence and passed along to the jury. Duggar said he thought the information was taken directly from the documents Alvarez had brought from the preliminary hearing.
Defense attorney Robert Van Sciver tried to discredit Duggar's testimony and asked him if he had been released from jail after trading that information for freedom. Duggar denied that he was released because of it and said it was his father who had posted his bail and not any prosecutor.
"What's a 17-year-old locked-up Hispanic have to trade with you that's of any value?" Van Sciver asked. "Did he offer a large sum of money?"
"In a way, I guess you could say that," Duggar replied. "I was told I'd be taken care of."
Duggar also indicated that drugs may have been part of the implied offer, but he insisted he took no action.
"I stuck that paper in a . . . bag that had my cigarettes, my toothpaste and comb in it and I walked out of that place," he said. "I didn't even stumble across that paper until about a week ago."
The witness also told the jury Alvarez told him Donald Newingham stabbed him in the leg during the fight "so he pulled out a knife and stabbed the father."
"He remembers stabbing the father but didn't remember stabbing the son. He didn't know whether he did or not."
Paul Velasquez told the jury he accompanied the Newinghams to Richard Gabaldon's house, 467 N. Morton Drive, that evening and witnessed the fight and stabbings. He said he saw Gabaldon start fighting with Donald Newingham and then saw Alvarez pull out a knife.
"He (Alvarez) jumped on Don's back and started stabbing him," said Velasquez, who said he thought Alvarez stabbed him four times. He said Shane Newingham "began fighting with the crowd" after his dad had already been stabbed.
"I saw Freddy run over and he started to swing at Shane," Velasquez testified. "He came over and started sticking . . . Kenny ran over to help Shane and they both fell down on the ground together.
He said he then saw Gabaldon stomp on Shane Newingham's head. "I said there's no need to do that. He's already down."
Velasquez said he got into his car and went to a 7-Eleven store to phone for help. As he was calling from a pay phone, he said a carload of people including Gabaldon and Alvarez drove by and threatened him.
"Freddy yelled out the window, `I'm going to kill you next,' " he said. "He tried to jump out of the car, but they pulled him back in."
Alvarez is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the two stabbing deaths. Gabaldon originally faced the same charges, but he will be allowed to plead guilty to two counts of aggravated assault in exchange for his testimony.
The trial is scheduled to resume on Monday.