PROVO — A man charged with obstructing justice in connection with an alleged murder-for-hire case was sentenced to probation Monday.
Joshua Ian Stansbury, 37, of Bountiful, was sentenced to three years probation for obstructing justice, a third-degree felony, in connection with the 2011 killing of Andy Purcell, 32, prosecutor Samuel Pead said. Fourth District Judge Samuel McVey also sentenced Stansbury to the 80 days in jail the man had already served and ordered him to pay a $960 fine.
Stansbury pleaded guilty to the charge — which was reduced from a second-degree felony — in December.
Pead said the sentence was one that he recommended and considers to be fair. Police and prosecutors say Stansbury was not involved in Purcell's death.
"He had no idea about the murder," Pead said. "The problem is he lied to police about seeing the gun … and it obstructed the investigation."
Pead said the case against Stansbury was meant to send a message.
"You can't lie to police about certain information," Pead said. "We're backing the police up in that way. ... He had no duty to talk to anybody, but just don't lie."
Purcell was found with a gunshot wound to the head on the front porch of his Provo home at 541 S. 300 East on May 16, 2011. He died the next day.
Three men — Yuri Sanchez Lara, 32, Danny Logue, 45, Darrell Morris, 38 — have all been charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in the case. Robin Jackson, 36, is facing a single count of obstructing justice, a second-degree felony, stemming from the investigation.
A confidential informant told police that Lara believed Purcell had provided officers with information that resulted in methamphetamine being found in a storage unit Lara had in Orem. Investigators say Lara contacted Morris and ordered an assault on Purcell.
In return, Lara would pay Morris with 1 ounce of methamphetamine — half an ounce to be paid before the assault and the other half to be paid after, a police affidavit states.
Lara became a person of interest to police after Purcell's family members said the two had been known to deal drugs together and had been involved in a running dispute over payment for a car Purcell sold to Lara, according to the affidavit.
A preliminary hearing for Lara, Morris and Logue has been set for April.