SALT LAKE CITY — A Sevier County man who admitted shooting another man during a fight has been ordered to serve back-to-back prison sentences on two charges.
William Gene Muir, 42, was ordered March 20 to serve at least one and up to 15 years in prison for manslaughter in the death of David Rioja, 36, and at least three and up to 15 years for felony discharge of a firearm. Credit was granted for the time Muir has spent in jail since the 2015 shooting.
Muir had originally been charged with murder in Rioja's death. He pleaded guilty to the reduced charges, both second-degree felonies, in a deal with prosecutors last month.
Muir and Rioja got into a heated argument in front of Rioja's house, 190 E. 155 South in Venice, Sevier County, on Nov. 22, 2015, according to investigators.
Rioja's brother told police he heard the fight from inside the house, followed by the sound of a truck leaving, according to a search warrant affidavit. About 15 minutes later he heard a truck return and Rioja exclaiming something to the effect of, "What, you going to shoot me now?" the affidavit states.
Moments later, Rioja's brother heard three gunshots, then heard the truck "spin its tires" and leave, according to the warrant. An autopsy later showed that Rioja was shot twice.
Three minutes after Rioja's family called 911, police say Muir also called 911 from his own home, located about 10 blocks away, reporting that he had been assaulted with a baseball bat and that he had shot someone.
Police found a broken wooden handle, like a handle from an ax, with blood on it at the scene of the shooting, which was possibly used to assault Muir and break the windshield of his vehicle, according to court documents.Comment on this story
During the sentencing hearing, Muir's attorney, Marcus Taylor, said Muir hadn't left Rioja's home and then returned to shoot him, but fired at him during their fight, according to court documents.
Taylor described Muir as "a loving father, a good provider, a hard worker and a decent person," court documents state. He emphasized that Muir is remorseful for his actions, noting he has already spent more than 800 days in jail.
Prosecutor Dale Eyre disputed Taylor's argument, noting there were two sets of tire tracks from Muir's truck at the scene and claiming Muir had returned to shoot Rioja to get revenge, court documents state. He asked that Muir's sentences run consecutively.