BOUNTIFUL — Criminal charges were filed Friday against a Nevada man who was arrested in August in the beating death of a Bountiful man.
Taniela Siale Lopiseni Salakielu, 22, of Henderson, Nevada, is charged in 2nd District Court with murder, a first-degree felony, as well as burglary and theft, second-degree felonies.
On Aug. 19, the badly decomposed body of Rand Hatch, 50, who had not been seen for over a week, was found inside his house at 1433 E. Lakeview Drive.
"After an autopsy from the medical examiner, it was discovered there was blunt force trauma to the victim’s head, including a broken jaw and skull fractures," according to charging documents.
Inside the house, Bountiful police found Salakielu's jail identification card and his jail booking slip for a recent arrest, the charges state.
On Aug. 20, police found Hatch's stolen Infiniti vehicle in Sunset. The next day, Salakielu was located and interviewed by police.
"The defendant admitted to having the vehicle and knowing the victim. The suspect stated he and the witness were at the victim’s home. The suspect admitted to getting into a verbal altercation with the victim but denied that any physical altercation had taken place," the charges state.
But a woman told police that she and Salakielu were living with Hatch until he kicked them out. The woman said Salakeilu sneaked back into Hatch's house — possibly on Aug. 11 — through a window one night and hit the victim, according to the charges.
Although Salakielu was charged Friday for a homicide that happened nearly six months ago, he has had other legal issues that have resulted in incarceration.
On July 26, Salakielu was arrested in a domestic violence-related assault against his girlfriend. During that incident, Salakielu "demanded while they were driving her vehicle that she find somewhere to park so he could assault her," according to a Davis County Jail report.
The girlfriend filed for a protective order on Aug. 24 — three days after Salakielu was arrested in Hatch's death — and Salakielu was charged Aug. 30 with assault, a third-degree felony. He was convicted in October and was sentenced in January to six months in jail with credit for time served, according to court records.
However, prosecutors say Salakielu also violated the terms of the protective order numerous times since his arrest. In December, he was convicted of six counts of violating the protective order.
And on Friday, the day he was also charged with murder, a second case was filed in 2nd District Court charging Salakielu with seven counts of violating a protective order, all third-degree felonies.3 comments on this story
The week before Salakielu was to be sentenced for his prior protective order violation convictions, he "again contacted the victim" on Jan. 13 and on Jan. 15, the charges state. "The defendant made that contact by calling the victim while he was housed as an inmate at the Davis County Jail."
During his sentencing on Jan. 16, the judge "clearly explained that any further contact with the victim would be a probation violation. The judge advised that the no-contact provision was a 'zero tolerance' condition of probation," according to charging documents.
The next day, however, Salakielu called the former girlfriend from jail again, then called her multiple times on both Jan. 18 and Jan. 19, police say.