He was taking pictures of the moon at night. She was in her apartment waiting for her husband to come home.
He was working nights at a budget motel to put himself through school. She was trying to get the name of the driver who had hit her car.These are some of the activities this year's murder victims were involved in when they were killed. There seemed to be an increase in the number of random or bizarre killings in 1996, if not in numbers then in profile. Police don't even know motives for 12 of the 67 homicides that occurred in Utah during 1996.
There were the usual drug killings, gang-related shootouts and child-abuse homicides. And as in years past, most victims were killed by someone they knew - sometimes by someone they loved.
What kills most people?
"Drugs and domestic violence," said Salt Lake County Sheriff's homicide Sgt. Jerry Townsend. Sixteen of last year's homicides were the result of domestic problems, and 13 were drug-related.
A record number of people were murdered in unincorporaed Salt Lake County in 1996 - 15.
The state's capital city had fewer drug-related homicides after setting a record high in that area in 1995. Salt Lake Police Lt. John Hodson credits increased patrols and pressure on drug trafficking for the decrease.
"Our patrols and narcotics (officers) have been putting a lot of pressure on the drug dealers," he said. "We've had a lot of public involvement and that's really helped to decrease theamount of (drug-related) homicides."
But what police couldn't predict or avoid was what appeared to be an increase in killings in situations most would not expect to end in a murder. This year, more people seemed to die doing what people do every day - baby sitting, stopping at a convenience store and working.
Probably the most high-profile case - one of the few homicides police consider a truly random killing - was that of 17-year-old Zachary Snarr. He and his friend, Yvette Rodier, were setting up a camera to take pictures of the moon over Little Dell Reservoir when they were approached by a man asking directions.
He was about their age, and the teens told him what he said he needed to know. The beneficiary of their kindness then pulled out a handgun and shot both of them. Rodier survived by playing dead. Snarr died at the scene.
Everyone, especially the families of Snarr and Rodier, had just one question - why?
Jorge Benvenuto, 19, was arrested and charged with capital murder. Police said he confessed to shooting the teens after his arrest. Benvenuto told investigators he was depressed and really wanted to kill himself. He said he thought that by shooting the couple he would then feel bad enough to shoot himself, Townsend said.
But knowing why didn't make losing Zach any easier for the Snarr family.
"I will never accept the way Zach died," said his mother, Sy Snarr. "He should be here. . . . It shouldn't have happened to anyone. Zach was not where he shouldn't be. He wasn't doing anything he shouldn't have been doing. . . . I'll never make sense of that."
Sy Snarr said she takes comfort in her memories, Zach's life and friends, and in knowing the man who killed her boy is behind bars.
Andrea Myler doesn't have that last comfort to ease the pain of losing her daughter, Jill Allen, who was beaten to death in her North Salt Lake apartment.
"More than anything," Myler said, "We just want to know why. . . . Although, I know there's no reason that's going to be good enough."
Allen's case is one of only 12 cases that remains unsolved. North Salt Lake police have offered a reward for information.
- Most of this year's victims died because of a bullet - 28 were shot to death. Five were asphyxiated, seven were beaten, six were stabbed.
- The average age of those killed was 28 - with the youngest being 9 months and the oldest 79.
- Forty-five males were killed during 1996 and 21 females. Investigators have not yet determined the sex of a young child, whose skeletal remains were discovered in Juab County.
- Nine of the shootings were said by officials to be self-defense - six of those killed were shot by police officers.
- Seven of the state's homicides were gang-related. Police say robbery was a motive in five homicides.
In the included summaries, the listed motives come from court documents or the beliefs of police and prosecutors who have investigated the crimes. In many of the cases, the suspects have pleaded not guilty.
Deseret News staff writers Mark L. Reece, Jason Swensen, Chip Parkinson, Don Rosebrock and Jim Rayburn contributed to this report.
'96 Utah homicides
Salt Lake City 23
Salt Lake County 15
West Valley City 2
Davis County 5
Duchesne County 1
Juab County 1
Millard County 1
Sanpete County 1
Uintah County 1
Utah County 5
Weber County 7
Salt Lake City
1. Jan. 3 - Eric Stephan Garcia, 2, died from massive chest injuries. His stepfather, Daniel Kidwell, 22, called 911 and said Garcia was not breathing. Paramedics arrived and found the boy dead. Prosecutors said the boy had been dead an hour before Kidwell called. Kidwell was charged with murder and child abuse. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of child abuse homicide, a third-degree felony. He said he unintentionally fell on the child's chest while changing his diaper. He was sentenced to a year in jail. Motive: child abuse. Method: asphyxiation.
2. Feb. 3 - Diane Elizabeth Purper, 39, West Jordan, was shot in her car several times after a minor traffic altercation on a freeway onramp. Her nephew, Fred Jensen, was riding with her at the time and told police he and Purper had stopped at a red light. A car pulled up behind them and began honking, and Jensen said he simply waved the car past. Witnesses, however, said he got out of the car and yelled a racial epithet. The vehicle then pulled alongside Purper's car and a gunman fired six shots into the driver's side. Police believe Manueillo Valenzuela, 25, fired the shots. Anonymous calls led to the arrest of Jose N. Armenta-Corrales, 17, who was a passenger in the shooter's car and handed the gun to Valenzuela. He was charged with murder, a first-degree felony, but he later pleaded guilty to attempted obstruction of justice, a third-degree felony, and was sentenced to zero to five years in prison. Police are still looking for Valenzuela, also known a Mario Peraza-Armenta. He is believed to have fled to Mexico. Motive: anger. Method: shot.
3. Feb. 16 - Victor Gonzales-Ramirez, a.k.a. Joe Valdez, 36, address unknown, was shot to death outside a West Central City bar after alledgedly arguing over drugs with another man. Police say the two men shot at each other several times outside The Club, 501 W. 200 South. Police issued an arrest warrant for 38-year-old Miguel Martinez Estrada, a.k.a. Miguel Gutierrez-Martinez, in the killing. He was arrested in Seattle on a drug-related charge. He is still there while prosecutors decide whether to prosecute him for illegally re-entering the country, which is a federal crime. Alleged motive: drugs. Method: shot.
4. Feb. 22 - Joey Miera, 19, Salt Lake City, died from a shotgun wound as he slept on a living-room floor of a west Salt Lake home. Police say Miera, who didn't live in the house, was killed when someone fired a round through the room's window at 918 S. Navajo St. (1335 West). Police arrested Cameron Lopes, Collin Carter, Miguel Florez, Melissa Chacon and Tyrese Smith after prison officials recorded telephone calls from Smith to the others. Smith, who faces trial for murder, a first-degree felony, next February, allegedly ordered the killing as revenge for the shooting of one of his gang friends. Miera was not the intended target, according to court testimony. Carter and Lopes have both pleaded guilty to murder, a first-degree felony, and were ordered to serve five years to life in prison. Florez also has pleaded guilty as charged and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 13. Chacon is expected to plead guilty in February to a lesser charge in exchange for her testimony against Smith. Motive: gangs. Method: shot.
5. Feb. 27 - Samuel Durham, 35, Salt Lake City, died after being shot once in the stomach outside a home at 640 E. 300 South. Tracy Hester was arrested later that day after he turned himself in through a friend who called police. Neither man lived in the home but were with a large group of people when a fight broke out between Hester and a woman in the home and Durham tried to intervene. The situation at first cooled but later escalated in the home's front yard where Durham was shot. Hester was subsequently tried for murder and was acquitted by a jury. Defense attorneys argued Hester was acting in self-defense. Motive: self-defense, drugs, anger. Method: shot.
6. March 13 - Christopher Gibbs, 27, a transient, died after being stabbed in the chest during a fight near the Salvation Army, 423 W. 300 South. Police believe drugs likely sparked the confrontation during which two other men were stabbed besides Gibbs. Corwin Hicks, 36, was stabbed in the chest, and Earl Howard, 37, was stabbed in the head. Three men were arrested in connection with the stabbing: Sebastian Perez-Gutierrez, Miguel Carillo Gonzales and Jaime Burros. Prosecutors declined to file charges against Perez-Gutierrez, who was killed later that month over drugs. Charges against Carrillo Gonzales and Burros were dismissed because of problems locating witnesses. Both were convicted, however, of re-entering the country illegally and committed to federal prisons. Alleged motive: drugs, anger. Method: stabbed.
7. March 14 - Raul F. Jimenez, 19, was shot and killed by Salt Lake police detective Shawn Josephson during a drug investigation at the Overniter Motor Inn, 1500 W. North Temple. Two vice officers were at the motel and saw a man who appeared to be selling drugs. The suspect fled onto the roof and backup officers Josephson and Lane Heaps were called. The two went to the room where the fleeing man was first spotted. Jimenez answered the door, then tried to shut the officers out. Once inside, Jimenez attacked Heaps with a pair of scissors. The two began wrestling and Jimenez somehow got Heaps' gun and fired at least once. Josephson then shot Jimenez in his side twice. The shooting was ruled justified. Motive: self-defense. Method: shot.
8. March 28 - Sebastian Perez-Gutierrez, 27, was killed and two other men injured when masked men burst in an apartment at 376 N. 300 West and opened fire. Police say the death was drug-related. Police have made no arrests in this killing. Days before his arrest, Perez-Gutierrez was arrested in connection with an unrelated stabbing death but was released after prosecutors declined to file charges against him. Alleged motive: drugs. Method: shot.
9. March 30 - Jorge Soto-Fierro, 27, was shot in the chest at close range after two or three men broke into his apartment, 651 S. Redwood Road #829. Drug paraphernalia was found inside. Five people were charged, including Soto-Fiero's girlfriend, Tina Louise Archuletta, 24. Prosecutors say she told four men to rob her boyfriend of his drugs and cash. Archuletta, Savon Germaine Carter, 21, Antoine Johnson, 19, Christopher Catre Barnes, 21, and Anthony C. Trujillo, 18, were all charged with murder and aggravated burglary. A jury is expected to hear Carter's case beginning Feb. 11; Archuletta is supposed to be in court again Jan. 16 for a scheduling hearing; Barnes will be tried April 7, and Johnson's trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 24. Alleged motive: robbery, drugs, gangs. Method: shot.
10. April 10 - Diane Bryson-Konecny, 34, was shot in the head near 550 E. Stringham Ave. (2290 South). Police found her body about a block away in the passenger seat of a Chrysler Lebaron. Another woman was shot in the arm during the same incident. Gregory Angle was charged with homicide by assault, a third-degree felony. He later pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and attempted possession of a dangerous weapon, both class A misdemeanors, and was sentenced to two consecutive years in jail. Prosecutors said the two were fighting over drugs when Angle produced a gun, which went off during the struggle. Motive: drugs. Method: shot.
11. April 26 - Hoang Thanh Le, 26, was shot multiple times by Salt Lake police officers. Officers James Tracy, 25, and Warren Hansen, 25, responded to an apartment building, 655 S. 1000 West, after neighbors reported hearing gunfire. A man in one apartment said Le had threatened him with a gun. The two had wrestled over the gun and he took it from Le, who then left on a motorcycle. While officers were still there, Le returned and walked toward them while pointing two rifles at them. The officers ordered him to stop and drop the weapon and shot him when he did not comply. Motive: self-defense. Method: shot.
12. July 5 - Alfonso M. Gallegos, 19, was shot in the chest and died in the street at 2100 South near 500 East. More than 20 shots were fired at him after two groups exchanged gang signs. Ryan "Pookie" Brown was arrested in the killing, but prosecutors declined to charge him, saying the shooting appeared to be self-defense. Witnesses said they heard Brown yell, "He's got a gun" and said Gallegos was making motions as if he was reaching for a gun. Police have since asked prosecutors to reconsider filing charges. "This was more than self-defense. We don't want to send the message to gangsters that they can shoot it out on the streets," said Assistant Salt Lake Police Chief Steve Chapman. Motive: self-defense, gangs. Method: shot.
13. July 23 - David Alvarez, 26, was shot several times in his chest and leg by two men who jumped from a Bronco and fired at him. Alvarez was standing by a tree at 910 W. 100 South to help a friend's 2-year-old boy use the bathroom. Alvarez was allegedly shot for not telling a man where he could find a friend who owed money for drugs. The next day, Alvarez's roommate received a phone call from a man who told him the same thing was going to happen to him unless he provided the caller with "certain information." A man known only as "Pelon" was charged as a John Doe with murder. The same man, who has not been located, is also suspected in a 1994 drug-related killing. Allleged motive: drugs. Method: shot.
14. July 24 - Robert Lonnie Durazo, 31, was shot several times in the chest as he sat on the porch of his house, 411 N. Chicago (940 West). Witnesses told police two cars circled the block and then stopped in front of his house. Several men got out of the cars and approached Durazo, who was sitting on the porch with a female friend. They said, "What's up blood?" according to police, and then fired several shots at Durazo and his friend. He was hit in the chest, and she was hit in the leg. Police have made no arrests in the shootings. Motive: gangs. Method: shot.
15. July 25 - Vivian Speers, 79, was shot and killed by her husband, Elmer Charles Speers, 78, during a murder-suicide. Neighbors called the couple's son after noticing they hadn't left their apartment at 1929 E. St. Mary's Drive for several days. Vivian Speers had severe medical problems and had been incapacitated for some time. Police said Charles Speers may have tired of caring for her after years of a strained relationship. Motive: domestic, depression. Method: shot.
16. Aug. 25 - Pablo Sandoval, 16, died at a Salt Lake hospital after being shot in the head during a drive-by shooting in Central City. Police said Sandoval and another teen were driving around 100 East and Belmont Avenue (995 South) about 2 a.m. when they were shot at by three people as a group of seven men pulled up next to their car. One slug went through the arm of Maximino Simon, 17, and then hit Sandoval in the head. Police have made no arrests yet, but have some suspects in the case. Motive: gangs. Method: shot.
17. Sept. 4 - Jesus Urias Rodriguez, 24, a transient, was beaten to death by several men whom police said intended to rob him and his cousin of drugs and money. The cousin, Enrique Rodriguez Gastelun, 28, survived the attack. Four alleged gang members were arrested and three were bound over for trial for the beatings. Michael Ulibarri, 19, is charged with murder, a first-degree felony, and aggravated robbery. John Travis Penman, 19, and Phillip Vasquez, 21, are charged with one count of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated robbery. Steve Mathew Trujillo, 19, was granted immunity by prosecutors for testifying against the other three. Alleged motive: robbery, drugs. Method: beaten.
18. Sept. 1 - Amber Lynn Bean, 18 months, 705 S. Redwood Road #22, was taken to the hospital after her foster parents discovered she wasn't breathing. She had been placed in the home of George and Shirley Wells one year earlier. State workers described the child as "medically fragile." Police allege Bean was suffocated by her foster mother, Shirley Wells, who was charged with one count of child abuse homicide, a third-degree felony. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 29. Alleged motive: child abuse. Method: asphyxiation.
19. Sept. 29 - Linilei Vimahi, 19, was shot and killed after a fight outside the Salt City Cafe, 307 W. 200 South, about 3 a.m. Police believed the fight was gang-related, but prosecutors declined to charge Kerry Carter, 19, who was arrested in Vimahi's death, calling the shooting self-defense. Motive: self-defense, gangs. Method: shot.
20. Nov. 24 - James O. Walton, 41, Sandy, was found shot to death on the shoulder of I-80 near 7200 West. He had been shot in the upper torso. Walton hadn't spoken to his family since he left for work two days earlier. A witness told police he saw Walton getting into his minivan at a Smith's Food and Drug Center about 10 a.m. with two unidentified men the day before his body was found. Detectives are searching for the men Walton was seen with to question them about Walton's last day alive. One of the men was seen driving the van, which was found the day after Walton's body was found. Motive: unknown. Method: shot.
21. Dec. 6 - Manuel "Rocky" Beltran, 22, was shot in the head. His body was found lying on the ground near 600 North and 600 West. He had recently immigrated to Salt Lake City from Sinaloa, Mexico. Police are looking for three men in their 20s who were seen fleeing the scene in a gray van with blue and orange stripes with no side windows. Motive: drugs. Method: shot.
22. Dec. 21 - Gabriel Trujillo, 23, was shot in the head of the parking lot of El Dos De Oros, 996 S. Redwood Road. As customers were leaving the bar, some of them began firing handguns into the air. Police believe Trujillo was shot as he sat in a friend's car when he and his friend (the driver) exchanged gunfire with passengers in another car. There have been no arrests, and police are unsure of a motive. Motive: unknown. Method: shot. 23. Dec. 25 - Jack Poore, 56, was shot in the chest in the living room of his Rose Park home, 1318 N. 1300 West. His son, Jon Todd Poore, 32, was later charged with manslaughter, a second-degree felony. He told police he and his father had been fighting and arguing much of Christmas Day and he struck his father in the head, court documents state. Jack Poore returned from his bedroom with a shotgun, pointing and waving it at his son. The two men struggled over the gun, and Jack Poore was shot. Alleged motive: domestic. Method: shot.
Salt Lake County
1. Jan. 16 - Michelle Ann Baca Turner, 22, was stabbed to death in her apartment, 794 W. 3900 South, during a fight with her boyfriend. Her 1-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old girl were present at the time. The attacker then went into another room and stabbed himself, although he was not seriously injured. The teen then called 911. Aleksandr Mallaev, 22, was charged with murder, a first-degree felony. The case has languished in court while psychologists try to determine whether he is competent to stand trial. A comptency hearing is scheduled for Jan. 16; Mallaev remains in the Salt Lake County Jail. Alleged motive: domestic. Method: stabbing.
2. Jan. 25 - John Albert Taylor, 36, was executed by firing squad for the 1989 rape and strangulation death of 12-year-old Charla King in Washington Terrace, Weber County. He chose not to continue his court appeals and was executed at the Utah State Prison. The execution was the first by firing squad since Gary Gillmore's in January 1977. Motive: completion of sentence. Method: shot.
3. Feb. 7 - David Nielsen, 73, was found badly beaten and only semiconcious on Oct. 30, 1994, in his Millcreek house, 4037 S. 565 East. Investigators believe he might have lay waiting for help for two days. Nielsen died in February 1996, and the medical examiner ruled his death was a homicide because his throat was crushed during the beating, which caused him to contract pnemonia more frequently, which is what actually killed him. Sheriff's investigators say prosecutors told them they wouldn't file murder charges in the death even if investigators were able to make an arrest because of the amount of time that has passed since Nielsen was beaten. Police have no suspects in the beating. Motive: unknown. Method: beaten.
4. March 22 - Michael B. Brown, 23, Sandy, was found dead in the foohills above Bluffdale by a group of teenagers riding all-terrain vehicles. Detectives later arrested Damon Munford, 29, John Kiriluk, 25, and Rebecca Munford, 29, and charged them each with one count of murder, a first-degree felony. At trial, witnesses said Kiriluk was angry at Brown because he lost an expensive drug-making material called Prop 2. Kiriluk enlisted Munford's help to "muscle" Brown about the material, Rebecca Munford testified. The two men took Brown into the foothills and Kiriluk bashed his head with a rock while Munford slit his throat, Rebecca Munford said. Prosecutors allowed her to plead guilty to a reduced charge in exchange for her testimony against her husband and Kiriluk. She was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service. Both Damon Munford and Kiriluk were sentenced to prison for five years to life. Motive: drugs. Method: beaten, stabbed.
5. March 25 - JoAnn Collett, 51, was run over after a car accident near 3900 South and 300 East. Collett's vehicle was hit from behind by another sedan. When she got out to talk to the driver of the other car, they got into an argument. The woman driving the other car got back into her vehicle and ran over Collett, dragging her body for more than 1,500 feet and through at least two turns. Police arrested Sharane Kearney, 24, after witnesses gave them a license plate number. According to an agreement with prosecutors, she will plead guilty to manslaughter, a second-degree felony, on Jan. 10. A medical examiner said Collett died of asphyxiation from being crushed. Alleged motive: anger. Method: asphyxiation.
6. April 14 - Tommy Jose Ortega, 30, was stabbed several times in the chest at a pre-wedding party, 3569 S. 455 East. Witnesses told police they saw Thomas Montano, 27, and three other men beating up Ortega about 5:30 a.m. Montano was arrested and charged with the killing but the charges were later dismissed because a key witness, Teresa Guzman, was shot to death in a domestic dispute two months later. Alleged motive: anger, drugs. Method: stabbed.
7. April 27 - The body of Stephanie Blundell, 13, was found buried in American Fork Canyon the day after prison inmate Roberto Arguelles told investigators where he had buried the teenager's body more than four years ago. Arguelles' confession included details about four of Salt Lake County's most baffling disappearances. Arguelles told investigators he kidnapped, killed and buried Margo Bond, 42; Tuesday Roberts, 15; Lisa Martinez, 16; and Blundell. Blundell's was the last of the four bodies to be found. He is charged with four counts of capital murder, but his court proceedings are on hold until the Utah Supreme Court rules on whether his public defenders have a conflict of interest. Motive: unknown. Method: unknown.
8. June 11 - Teresa Guzman, 27, was shot by her live-in boyfriend, Leonard Ramirez, at her Millcreek apartment, 3574 S. 455 East. After shooting her, police say Ramirez went downstairs and shot himself in the head. The couple's children - ages 2, 5, 7 and 9 - witnessed the shootings and ran to a neighbor's house. The couple had been fighting off and on the day of the shootings. Family members said the couple had a tumultous relationship and were attempting to separate when the shootings occurred. Guzman was a key witness in an unrelated April 14 homicide. Motive: domestic. Method: shot. 9. July 28 - George White, 24, was shot and killed by Salt Lake County Sheriff's SWAT officer Tim Langley. Police were summoned to White's house by his girlfriend who said he threatened her with a gun. White refused to come out of the house or talk with police, so they fired several rounds of pepper gas into the house. When White still refused to communicate with deputies, SWAT officers entered the house. According to police, White jumped from beind a bar in the home's basement armed with a gun as police entered the room. Langley responded with gunfire. The shooting was ruled justified by prosecutors. Motive: self-defense. Method: shot.
10. Aug. 7 - Jamie Ellen Weiss, 18, 3769 Copperridge, was found dead in the bathtub of her trailer home by her boyfriend's sister. An autopsy showed she died of head trauma before being put in the tub. Weiss was three-months pregnant and engaged to be married three days before her death. Police have a suspect in the killing, but no arrests have been made nor have charges been filed. Motive: domestic. Method: beaten.
11. Aug. 10 - Bruce Hand, 58, was killed outside his wholesale coffee store near 200 East and 3900 South. Police said someone hit him on the head with a 35-pound rock. According to court documents, the slaying occurred in the morning at Farmer Johns Coffee in Millcreek, where the assailant threw the rock at Hand six or seven times. Police arrested the victim's son, also named Bruce Hand, 20, and charged him with murder, a first-degree felony. He allegedly told police he struck his father because "God told him to do it." A hearing to determine his mental competence is scheduled for Feb. 27. Alleged motive: domestic. Method: beaten.
12. Aug. 30 - Zachary Snarr, 17, was shot while setting up a camera to take pictures of the moon at Little Dell Reservoir in Parleys Canyon. He and a friend, Yvette Rodier, were approached by a man asking directions. For no apparent reason, the man opened fire on the couple, hitting both of them. Snarr died at the scene, but Rodier played dead and crawled to the road where a passing motorist found her and summoned help. Jorge Benvenuto, 19, was arrested in the killing. He told police he wanted to commit suicide when he happened upon the two other teens. Prosecutors subsequently charged him with one count each of capital murder and attempted capital murder, and two counts of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 5. Motive: unknown. Method: shot.
13. Sept. 18 - Zachary Z. Zimmerman, 17, a Cottonwood High senior, was killed during a fight with his 19-year-old cousin, Cody Hilton, at 2112 E. Haun Ave. (6360 South). Police say the boys got into a fistfight after Hilton intervened in a fight between Zimmerman and his mother. Hilton punched Zimmerman in the chest and his heart stopped. Police gave the case to prosecutors, who declined to press charges against Hilton. Motive: domestic, anger. Method: assault.
14. Oct. 20 - Dennis Henry Miera, 32, was shot while sitting in his car oustide a convenience store. Noemi Jimenez was arrested, but police believe it was her husband, Jose Jimenez, who shot Miera. Police said Jose Jimenez got into a fight with Miera's friends inside the store. The fight moved outside, where one of the men hit Jose Jimenez, knocking him to the ground. Shots might have been fired during the fight. Miera wasn't a participant in the fight, but police said Jimenez walked up to the window of Miera's car and shot him at close range. Jimenez has been charged with murder, but he's still at large. Alleged motive: anger. Method: shot.
15. Dec. 18 - Jeannete Martinez, 25, was found dead in her Magna home, 2647 S. Melville Drive (8040 West) by her husband. She had been tied up, stabbed and beaten. Three young children were believed to be in the home at the time of the slaying. The prime suspect and victim's husband's brother-in-law, Wally Ortiz, 29, was shot once by deputy sheriffs the next day while trying to escape capture outside a Wendover casino. Prosecutors charged him with one count of capital murder. A preliminary hearing has not yet been scheduled. Alleged motive: robbery, domestic. Method: beaten, stabbed.
1. Feb. 23 - Leonard Aragon, 17, was shot outside his family's Midvale home at 50 W. Depot (160 North). Police said Aragon was getting out of his car when his friend, Luis Alberto Vasquez, 30, approached him and an argument ensued. Aragon was shot once in the stomach but was able to tell his mother who shot him before dying. Officers arrested Vasquez riding his bike near his home a short time after the shooting and charged him with murder, a first-degree felony. Vasquez pleaded guilty to manslaughter, a second-degree felony, and was ordered to prison for one to 15 years plus a one-year consecutive term for using a gun in the crime. He maintained the gun "somehow" went off when he went to Aragon's home to kill himself. Vasquez also admitted he was "confused" about his relationship with the young man. Motive: domestic. Method: shot.
2. Aug. 14 - Julie Walters, 22, was shot in the head at an apartment complex at 133 W. Inglenook Drive (6985 South). She had been arguing with a man over her car that he had been using. Neighbors said the shooter fled in Walter's vehicle. After five days of searching, police arrested Walter's boyfriend, Travis W. Workman, 19, and charged him with murder, a first degree felony. Workman, a suspected gang member, has a long criminal history. Investigators said he had been using methamphetamines for four days before the shooting and may have still been under the influence. A trial is scheduled for Jan. 28. Alleged motive: domestic. Method: shot.
1. Jan. 2 - Kenneth David "Zippo" Leiter, 18, was shot once in the back of the head outside his condominium at 46 W. Lester Lane (6790 South) during an altercation with a two armed men. While Leiter was squaring off with one man, the second walked up behind him and shot him. The two armed men and a third companion reportedly sped away in a compact car. No arrests have been made. Detectives are wading through several possible motives - including Leiter's reported gang ties and a confrontation with his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend at a New Year's Eve party. Motive: unknown, possibly gang-related. Method: shot.
2. Feb. 20 - Donna Kaddourah Shelton, 40, West Jordan, was strangled in her home at 2169 W. 7420 South by her 13-year-old daughter, Jessica Kaddourah, during a fight. The girl, with two 14-year-old friends, drove the woman's body to a Jordan River Parkway pond after the slaying and dumped it into the water. The daughter was booked into juvenile detention for murder. The other two girls, including one arrested later at her West Jordan home, were booked into detention for investigation of obstruction of justice and desecration of a body. Kaddourah was sentenced to a youth corrections facility until she turns 21. Motive: domestic. Method: asphyxiation.
1. May 24 - Joseph G. Hawkins, 16, was stabbed at a Memorial Day weekend party at 1606 E. Transwest Drive (11145 South). The homeowners were not around at the time. Randall Keele 16, Sandy, was charged as an adult with one count of murder, a first-degree felony. Prosecutors say Hawkins and a friend were attacked outside the party. During the fight, Keele pulled out a knife and stabbed Hawkins several times, court documents state. Police said the incident was "absolutely not" gang-related, but alcohol was a factor in the incident. A trial has been set for March 4. Alleged motive: anger. Method: stabbed.
West Valley City
1. Aug. 4 - Roberto Huerta, 38, was shot in the back near 1850 West and 3300 South. Huerta was at a party where police say large amounts of alchohol were being consumed. Huerta and several other men began arguing. Guns were drawn and several shots fired - including one that struck and killed Huerta. Three brothers - Lupe Najera, 38, Gilbert Najera, 42, Steven Najera, 32, and a fourth suspect, 46-year-old Johnny Gutierrez, were arrested shortly after Huerta's death and charged with murder. They are awaiting a preliminary hearing date. Alleged motive: anger. Method: shot.
2. Dec. 9 - Lisa Redmond, 36, was found in the middle of the road near 5200 West and 3100 South by passing motorists. The mother of two small children was seen alive moments earlier at Pizza Hut, 3390 S. 5600 West, as she was leaving in her pickup truck to deliver pizzas. Police believe she was killed when someone ran her over with her own pickup. The vehicle was located the next day outside a West Valley home. No arrests have been made. Police are still looking at several possible leads, and Pizza Hut officials have offered a $5,000 reward to anyone who can help detectives nab Redmond's killer. Motive: unknown. Method: asphyxiation.
1. Feb. 12 - Michael Stanfield, 18, was shot by two members of the Layton Police SWAT team, Allen Swanson and Quinn Moyes, after Stanfield stepped out from his mobile home at 301 N. Main. He pulled a .25-caliber handgun from his waistband and fired at least one shot at police. Officers had been called to the home on a domestic violence complaint after Stanfield fired a shot through a bathroom door at his wife, who was bathing their child. She fled with the child to a neighbor's home and called police. An inquiry cleared the two officers. Motive: self-defense. Method: shot.
2. May 28 - Ingrid Lilly, 40, was shot once in the head while taking a nap in her home at 1295 W. 1150 East. Her husband, Steven Lilly, 51, called a friend and told him he'd shot his wife, then he killed himself with a single shot to the head with the same pistol. Police believe the couple was experiencing marriage difficulties. Motive: domestic. Method: shot.
3. Aug. 28 - Jill M. Allen, 24, was found beaten to death in her North Salt Lake apartment at 850 N. Nighway 89 just after 11 p.m. Police believe the killer was either in the third-floor apartment or the victim answered the door and let him in, sometime between 9:45 and 10:55 p.m., when her husband returned. No arrests have been made. A $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her killer. Motive: unknown. Method: beaten.
4. Sept. 28 - Orlando V. Chacon, 3, died at Primary Children's Medical Center. He was taken there after being brought to Davis Hospital the day before by Johnny Martinez, 28, the boyfriend of the victim's mother. The victim, who was unconscious and unresponsive, suffered head injuries and showed signs of sexual abuse. Martinez was charged with murder and sexual abuse of a child and is schedueld for trial Feb. 12. Alleged motive: child abuse. Method: shaken.
5. Oct. 29 - Matthew J. Whicker, 30, a night clerk at the Motel 6 in Woods Cross just off the I-15 interchange at 2600 South, was shot at least twice with a .38-caliber handgun during a robbery. Police say the father of two fought violently with his attacker before he was killed. Two men, Todd Retten-ber-ger, 18, and Scott Johnson, 18, both of Bountiful, have been charged with aggravated robbery and murder, both first-degree felonies. Investigators believe, however, that only one of them entered the lobby and fired the shot, but they haven't said who. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 9. Alleged motive: robbery. Method: shot.
1. July 4 - The body of Benji J. Murray, 24, Fort Duchesne, was found July 6 beneath a stove in the "Little Chicago" area of the Uintah-Ouray Indian Reservation. Three men, Warrenell Cuch, 23, Bobby Redcap, 18, and Gregory C. Checora, 19, each face federal charges of murder, along with aiding and abetting while within Indian lands. Reuben Cuch Jr., 16, was also charged with murder and ordered to stand trial as an adult. Investigators said Murray was an acquaintance of the men accused in his death and the killing followed a dispute after a drinking party. All four suspects face a trial in April. Alleged motive: anger. Method: beaten, stabbed.
1. Nov. 29 - The skeletal remains of an unidentified child, believed to be 5 years old, were found near Mills Junction in south Juab County by area ranchers. A skull and several other bones were discovered by ranchers doing maintenance work near the headgate of Juab Lake. Sheriff's investigators believe the death is a homicide because rocks were placed over the remains as if to hide them, although the immediate cause of death and an identity have not yet been determined. Officials have few leads and no arrests. Motive: unknown. Method: unknown.
1. Feb. 22 - Breanna Loveless, 9 months, was found dead in her crib inside a Delta home. Loveless' mother, Bobbie Widdison, 23, and Travis Widdison, 25, the baby's uncle, were ordered to stand trial on charges of murder and child abuse. Both have pleaded not guilty. A medical examiner testified the child died from pneumonia complicated by earlier injuries she had suffered, including fractures to her arms, a leg and collar bone. Defense attorneys have suggested the death may have been due to inadequate medical care by doctors. The next court date is scheduled for March. Alleged motive: child abuse. Method: unknown.
1. Oct. 19 - Trinidad F. Corona, 31, was shot with a 9mm handgun following an argument in the parking lot of the Ephraim Senior Citizens Center. Mario B. Carrillo, 37, was charged with murder. Prosecutors say the slaying escalated from an argument in the parking lot over who and why someone set off a car alarm. After Carrillo was arrested, a box of 9mm ammunition was found in his car, investigators said. An officer reportedly asked Carrillo where the gun was, and Carrillo responded by saying it was under the seat. When the officer couldn't locate it, Carrillo said that somebody must have taken it, according to the charges. A hearing date has yet to be scheduled. Alleged motive: anger. Method: shot.
1. Aug. 22 - Kristyann Marie Jones, 29, was shot by her ex-boyfriend, Kelly Glen Huber, 32, who then hanged himself three days later in Lapoint, about 15 miles west of Vernal. After Jones' parents reported their daughter missing, investigators determined that Huber had kidnapped Jones. Sheriff Rick Hawkins said Huber went to talk to Jones on Aug. 21 to retrieve some personal belongings. He then left with Jones despite her protests, and drove around for several hours before the slaying took place at a remote location east of Lapoint. Huber's body was found three days later hanging from a tree near his home. Motive: domestic. Method: shot.
1. March 8 - The body of Natalie Farrer, 17, Orem, was discovered in a flower bed behind an LDS Church at 1650 N. Geneva Road in Provo after police received an anonymous 911 call. An autopsy showed she died from drug intoxication. Police say Monte Hatch White, 19, injected Farrer twice with heroin and Benjamin Zee Jensen, 19, injected her once. When White awoke the next morning, he found Farrer dead in his bed. He and his sister placed the body in a sleeping bag and dumped it at the church. White pleaded guilty to manslaughter and distributing heroin, second-degree felonies, and was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison. Jensen pleaded guilty to distributing heroin, a second-degree felony, and negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor. He was sentenced Tuesday to 90 more days in jail. Motive: drugs. Method: heroin.
2. March 15 - Douglas R. Cox, 40, Orem, died from three gunshots fired by Utah County deputy sheriffs after a six-hour standoff at his trailer home, 222 N. 1200 West. His wife called police the night before saying her husband was destroying belongings, threatening to burn the home down and threatening to kill her and himself. When police arrived, Cox refused to surrender and reportedly fired at least eight shots while holed up in his trailer. Police say he told them, "Either I kill you or you kill me." When Cox walked onto his patio to get some cigarettes, police tried to disarm him by shooting him with a kinetic baton. He refused to drop his weapon and raise his arms. He then fired shots at the deputies, who returned fire. The shooting was ruled justified. Motive: self-defense. Method: shot.
3. Aug. 25 - John Freitag, 38, Orem, was shot in the abdomen by a .38-caliber bullet fired through the storm door of his Orem duplex. Seven men went to Freitag's home, 363 E. 450 North, after a verbal confrontation on the telephone. The men planned to assault Freitag, but when someone said Freitag had a gun, Leikina Lavulavu pulled a handgun from his pants and fired one shot at Freitag. Lavulavu and Beau Heaps were the only two members of the group that knew Freitag. Police allege that Heaps was upset at Freitag's claims of becoming a drug informant for police, and that he convinced the group to help him "take care" of Freitag. Lavulavu, 19, was found guilty of manslaughter. He will be sentenced Jan. 24. Heaps, 17, is charged with murder, a first-degree felony, and will stand trial in January. David Niumeitolu, Bo Malupo, Tonga Mounga, Anthony Tai and Topo Unga all entered guilty pleas to misdemeanor charges. Motive: drugs. Method: shot.
4. Aug. 30 - David Anthon, 12, Provo, was found dead in his Provo home, 92 E. 400 South, alongside his mother. Police believe the boy died from several gunshots fired by his mother, Andrea Anthon, 49, who then turned the gun on herself. Neighbors told police that Andrea Anthon had been depressed for a couple of weeks prior to the shooting. She was divorced and had no other children living with her at the time. Motive: domestic, depression. Method: shot.
5. Nov. 14 - Shayna Bryant, 7, Provo, died from a gunshot to the head fired by her 11-year-old brother. The boy first told police that the girl was shot by an intruder. However, he soon admitted that he shot his sister with a pistol he found in the kitchen cabinet of his Provo home, 909 W. 1430 South. The two were home alone at the time. The boy told police that he was inspecting the gun when it discharged. His sister, who was coloring on her parents' bedroom floor, was struck by the stray bullet. After an autopsy revealed the girl was shot from close range, police believe the boy was teasing his sister with the gun and believed it was unloaded. The shooting was ruled accidental. Motive: accidental. Method: shot.
1. June 22 - Sheridan Lee Shepherd, 20, Springville, was strangled following a party in west Ogden. Her body was found in a parking lot. Witnesses said she was last seen alive with Darnell Ray Clopton, 22, a parolee convicted of armed robbery. After initially telling police that he had not been with Shepherd, Clopton reportedly admitted in a statement to police that he choked the woman. Clopton later pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and is awaiting trial. No date has been set. Alleged motive: unknown. Method: asphyxiation.
2. July 14 - Richard Ely Harper, 42, Salt Lake City, died after being strangled and slashed with a broken beer bottle. Lester E. Wayman, 26, was arrested a month later. Wayman's fingerprints match those on the bloody neck of a broken beer bottle found by Harper's body at a transient camp, according to court documents. Wayman pleaded guilty to a reduced manslaughter charge and will be sentenced on Jan. 23. Motive: unknown. Method: asphyxiation, stabbing.
3. July 18 - Gregorio Gomez Landa, 25, Ogden, died after being shot and run over by a vehicle on the 600 block of 21st Street. Landa had reportedly left a party shortly before the shooting. He was shot two times, then run over by a car occupied by the gunman, police say. Landa's wife told police her husband and the shooting suspect, Carlos Bartolio, Ogden, had a longstanding feud. Bartolio has not been captured. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, along with the alleged driver of the car, Rolando Garcia. Alleged motive: anger. Method: shot.
4. July 26 - Edward John Anderson, 67, was found stabbed to death in his North Ogden home, the victim of a robbery attempt. His wife, Wanda Lorraine Anderson, was also severly beaten. Prosecutors charged Aletha Austin, 14, her 16-year-old brother, Robert Austin, and Michael Munson Jr., 24, with aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder and aggravated burglary and certified the Austin siblings as adults. Aletha Austin's certification is expected to be challenged. Munson is Wanda Anderson's grandson from a previous marriage. An April 24 trial date has been set for the trio. Alleged motive: robbery, domestic. Method: stabbed.
5. Aug. 30 - Phu Ly, 65, was shot and killed in his home by Roy police officer Adam Madsen after officers responded to domestic dispute reports. Police said Ly did not comply with their orders to drop his knife and appeared ready to throw the weapon. However, family members said Ly was nearly blind and could not speak English and may not have understood police commands. The shooting was ruled justified. Motive: self-defense. Method: shot.
6. Sept. 24 - Jason Smith, 18, Roy, was found dead in a car on Doxey Street with a gunshot wound to the head. Police originally thought Smith had been the target of a gang-related drive-by-shooting, but further investigations revealed he was negligently shot by someone inside the car. No arrests have been made, but investigators say charges could be filed soon. The case is being investigated by the Weber County Attorney's Office. Motive: unknown. Method: shot.
7. Dec. 22 - Kim Vo, 32, was found dead in her apartment, 2634 Quincy Ave., after police received a call from a man saying he had killed his wife. Vo died after being stabbed in the neck. Police say the slaying appears to be some kind of domestic abuse. The woman's three young children were in the home at the time of the killing. Vo's estranged husband, 32-year-old Ba Quang Tran, was charged with murder. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 24. Alleged motive: domestic. Method: stabbed.