A Salt Lake man who admitted Monday that he kicked a West Valley chef unconscious last year during a burglary at a downtown restaurant but insisted he was in another room when the chef was stabbed to death was sentenced to prison Monday.
Third District Judge Timothy Hanson said Grant David Stensrud must be punished for his participation in the "horrendous" crime that left four small children without a father.He sentenced Stensrud to serve a five-years-to-life sentence at the Utah State Prison, where his friend and co-defendant Thomas Trujillo is currently serving a life sentence.
Stensrud's mother sobbed loudly as her son was handcuffed and escorted from the courtroom. Defense attorney Stephen McCaughey asked the judge to sentence him to 1-to-15 years, but the judge refused and imposed the maximum sentence for second-degree murder, a charge to which Stensrud pleaded guilty.
Stensrud, 21, 570 S. 900 East, said he reluctantly agreed to help Trujillo burglarize Marie Callender Pies, 52 W. 200 South, on the morning of March 3, 1990. "He kept telling me it'd be pretty easy - in and out, no problems at all."
He described how the two of them broke into the business. Trujillo - who was fired from the restaurant a month earlier - was unable to open the safe, so they decided to take it with them. Because it was heavy, Trujillo went into the kitchen to get a hand truck. But he quickly returned.
"He had this look on his face. He just said, `Somebody's here,' " Stensrud testified. "I said, `Did he see you?' and Tom said, `Yes.'
"I said we should leave and he said, `Well, he knows me.' "
Stensrud said Trujillo, 23, told him that if they "roughed up the person a little bit maybe he'd be disoriented and (wouldn't) know what was going on."
The duo then saw Victor Aguilar, 37, step out of the freezer and they jumped on top of him, he said. Trujillo knocked the victim to his knees and held him in a head lock.
"Tom screamed at me to kick him and I did . . . in the face," Stensrud said. He said he then kicked Aguilar in the face again. "The second time he went limp and Tom just let him go."