clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Nearly 50 slayings reported in 2006

1. PROVO, Jan. 4 — Brandon Zamora, 5 months, died from apparent shaken baby syndrome. Daniella Ruiz, 24, Zamora's baby sitter, was charged with first-degree felony murder or child-abuse homicide in the alternative. The Medical Examiner's Office reported Zamora's injuries included a swollen and bleeding brain, internal torso bruising and hemorrhaging between his kidneys. A jury trial is scheduled to begin in March.

2. MIDVALE, Jan. 6 — George Benally, 43, was found beaten and unconscious near 7200 South and 900 East. He remained in a coma for nearly a week before dying on Jan. 12. Rondal Eddie, 19, was charged with aggravated murder. Eddie later plead guilty to murder and was sentenced to five years to life at the Utah State Prison. Eddie was the son of one of Benally's friends. Robbery was believed to be motive in the slaying, according to investigators.

3. TOQUERVILLE, Jan. 7 — Trisha Stubbs, 20, of St. George, was shot in the back of the head in what investigators believe was a drug-related killing. Jack Daniel Brown, 26, was charged with capital homicide. Two others pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping and had murder charges dropped in exchange for their testimony against Brown. A preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin Wednesday.

4. SALT LAKE COUNTY, Jan. 14 — Steven J. Poulos, a war hero and cousin of well-known auto dealer Gus Paulos, was shot and killed in his home. The two main suspects in the case, 26-year-old Alicia Wingate and 18-year-old Aaron Millenson, were killed in a shootout with police in Kansas on I-70 about a week later. Although the gun found with the couple in Kansas did not match the one used to kill Poulos, investigators said they were still the primary suspects in the case. The Poulos family also believed the duo to be responsible for the homicide and considered the case closed.

5. WEST HAVEN, Feb. 3 — Art Backus, 48, was shot and killed during an argument outside his home by Warren Dee Fellows, 44, who authorities say was in a rage over an affair Backus was having with his wife. When police responded to the 911 call, Fellows aimed a shotgun and handgun at them, prompting them to shoot. Fellows survived and was sentenced to six years to life in prison for first-degree felony murder.

6. TAYLORSVILLE, Feb. 9 — Sonia Mejia, 29, was found dead at the Fairway Apartments, 1141 W. 3900 South. Mejia was six months pregnant at the time. Her unborn child did not survive. Although the homicide was believed to have occurred in broad daylight, investigators have found no witnesses. No arrests have been made or possible suspects named.

7. LAYTON, Feb. 9 —Joann Carlson, 48, was found lying face down in a bathtub full of water. Prosecutors believe her husband, Richard Carlson, 52, hit her in the back of the head with a blunt object in their bedroom and then tried to smother her using pillows. Police say he then attempted to cover up the homicide by filling a bathtub with water, putting her in and making it look like she had drowned. She died the following day. Carlson was charged with first-degree felony murder and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony. His next court appearance is Jan. 9.

8. CLEARFIELD, Feb. 16 — Raechale Elton, 22, a Weber State University student who also worked as a counselor at a group home for troubled teens, died after being stabbed in the back and throat several times. Robert Cameron Houston, 17, a resident of the home, was accused of sexually assaulting and killing Elton after she offered to give him a ride on a snowy day. His next scheduled court appearance is Tuesday.

9. MEXICAN HAT, March 4 — Bryan Wilson, 21, was killed during a fight in which he was stabbed in the face. Leonard Singer, 41, was charged federally with murder because the slaying happened on the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation. Prosecutors said the slaying was an act of vengeance for an earlier incident. The defense said it was self-defense, and Singer was eventually acquitted at trial.

10. HATCH, March 4 — Daniel Lansing, 63, died during a fight with another man near the Hatch Trading Post on the Navajo Reservation. Remus Begay, 28, was charged with second-degree felony murder. A trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 27.

11. HOLLADAY, March 9 — Linda Elliott, who was celebrating her 63rd birthday, was shot and killed by her 38-year-old son, Curtis Elliott, while trying to flee from him. She reportedly had told him earlier in the day she was moving and he needed to find a new place to live, according to the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office. The two lived together. SWAT team members surrounded their apartment after the homicide and later found the son dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

12. SOUTH SALT LAKE, March 25 — Danny Brown Tapuaialupe, 23, was shot and killed at the bottom of a staircase outside an apartment complex near 3522 S. 500 East. Two others were injured in the gang-related shooting spree, one critically. Tyson Yellowbear, 22, was arrested and charged with murder. A trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 16.

13. TOOELE, March 25 — Nicole Speirs, 22, was found dead in her house by her live-in boyfriend. Although she apparently drowned in the bathtub, her death was ruled as an "unexplained drowning" by the state medical examiner. In December, Walter Smith, 24, confessed to being responsible for the death, according to police. Smith was arrested for investigation of homicide. His next scheduled court date is Tuesday.

14. SALT LAKE CITY, April 1 — Cassandra Bryan, 46, was shot multiple times and killed in the kitchen of her house near 1382 E. Green St. Her husband, 56-year-old Stephen James Walker, was charged with first-degree felony murder. According to court documents, Walker told a friend he was going to commit suicide. When the friend arrived at his house to check on him, he found Bryan dead and Walker sitting on his porch. A trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 30.

15. LAYTON, April 4 — Michael K. Roberts, 46, was found beaten to death. His body was discovered in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant, 1860 N. Main St. Investigators said the man appeared to have suffered blunt force trauma to the head. They did not know if Roberts was killed in the parking lot or his body dumped there. No arrests have been made.

16. EMERY COUNTY, April 8 — The body of Antoinette "Toni" Corum, 59, was found inside a motor home in a camping area off U.S. 6 near Horse Canyon in Emery County. Her boyfriend, 59-year-old Lanny Hubert Wayman, who had previously served prison time for domestic abuse against Corum, was charged with murder and abuse of a dead human body. He was sentenced to one to 15 years at the Utah State Prison after pleading guilty to second-degree felony manslaughter.

17. WEST VALLEY CITY, April 25 — Hugo Rosas-Pardo, 25, was shot and killed in his driveway. Victor Herrera-Briones. 23, who worked construction with Pardo, was arrested in California and returned to Utah. The two were reportedly fighting over a truck with a bad engine that Briones sold to another worker. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Feb. 16.

18. SOUTH SALT LAKE, April 29 — Tommy A. Donguyen, 24, was found lying next to a car near 2850 South and 900 West bleeding severely. Donguyen, a gang member, appeared to have been beaten, according to police. He later died from his injuries. No arrests have been made in the case.

19. BRIGHAM CITY, May 7 — John Matthew Ruiz, 44, was shot once in the chest by his wife, Vickie Marie Ruiz, 43, after she caught him with another woman. She pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of third-degree felony homicide by assault and was sentenced to up to five years at the Utah State Prison.

20. PROVO, May 21 — Raul Gonzalez was stabbed to death with a steak knife. Jesus Manuel Holguin-Albo, 27, who was allegedly friends with Gonzalez, was charged with first-degree felony murder.A jury trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 22.

21. SALT LAKE CITY, May 25 — Pilar R. Escoto-Ramirez, 29, was killed outside his apartment, near 300 East and 1000 North, over an apparent drug debt, according to police. Jabar Priest Bennett, 32, was arrested and charged with murder. "Blunt force trauma to the head consistent with being kicked in the head" was listed in court documents as the cause of death. A jury trial is scheduled to begin in late February.

22. OGDEN, June 1 —Tyler Joe Harper, 23, died of two gunshots after getting into an argument with another man outside an apartment complex on the 500 block of Park Boulevard over a drug debt. Joseph Logan Lee, 24, was arrested following a short chase. A jury trial is set for Jan. 22.

23. STOCKTON, July 2 — Larry Van Camp, 57, was shot to death outside his house while working on his semitruck. Police say his wife, Michelle Carter, 37, who had been helping work on the truck, killed Van Camp before fatally shooting herself. Investigators said the shooting was apparently the culmination of what started as a minor argument over an air conditioner.

24. SALT LAKE CITY, July 4 — Tevita Finau Vaenuk, 18, was shot to death outside a party near 1800 West and 400 North while trying to break up a fight between two girls. Tevita Haunga, 18, Marco Mike Heimuli, 20, and John Deene Fiefia, 18, were wanted by police for questioning in connection with the incident. A 10-year-old boy and another man were also injured by stray bullets. No arrests have been made.

25. BOUNTIFUL, July 6 — Samantha Mikesell, 16, died of an overdose in the foothills above Bountiful. She was with registered sex offender Walter Andrew White, 39, who later claimed the two had made a suicide pact. Two months later, White was charged with second-degree felony child abuse homicide after prosecutors say he provided the "planning, instruction, transportation and the location to facilitate the victim's death." He pleaded guilty to the charge in exchange for two other charges being dropped.White was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison for second-degree felony child abuse homicide and given sentences of up to five years each for unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old, dealing in harmful materials to a minor, and obstruction of justice, all third-degree felonies.

26. SALT LAKE CITY, July 12 — Mauricio Guzman-Escobar, 35, was shot to death near the homeless shelter, 200 South and 500 West. Anthony Zinnerman, 38, was charged with first-degree felony murder and two counts of attempted homicide. A trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday. Investigators said the shooting was drug-related.

27. MONTEZUMA CREEK, July 13 — Alphonso Benally, 28, was shot to death after visiting a home on the Navajo Nation reservation in Utah's Four Corners area. Jeremy Harrison, 19, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City on a charge of second-degree felony murder after investigators say he opened fire with a .22-caliber rifle at Benally and a group of people walking away from his home. A trial is scheduled for Feb. 5.

28. SALT LAKE CITY, July 16 — Destiny Norton, 5, was lured out of her yard, kidnapped, smothered and sexually assaulted. The search for Destiny was reminiscent of the searches for Elizabeth Smart and Lori Hacking. A week after she disappeared, her body was found in the basement of a neighbor's home. Craig Roger Gregerson was arrested and charged with aggravated murder and child kidnapping. In December, he pleaded guilty in exchange for avoiding the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

29. DELTA, July 28 — Martin James Sessions, 49, was shot multiple times at this home. His wife, 46-year-old Carole Elizabeth Alden, was arrested and charged with first-degree felony murder, second-degree felony obstruction of justice and third-degree felony desecration of a dead human body. Police say that after shooting her husband she moved his body into the back yard and did not notify police until the next day. She told police she was protecting herself following years of abuse. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 8.

30. MURRAY, July 31 — Jayden Cangro, 2, was beaten to death. Phillip Justin Guymon, 29, the live-in boyfriend of the victim's mother, was supposed to be baby-sitting Cangro while the mother was away. Police believe Guymon threw the infant across the room several times, causing severe head trauma. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 31.

31. ANETH, Aug. 1 — Sherard Harvey, 23, died after getting into a fight with another man on the Navajo Nation reservation. Randall Jones, 29, was charged with second-degree felony murder. A trial is set for March.

32. SYRACUSE, Aug. 1 — Shelby Andrews, 10, was found beaten to death in her house. Her father and stepmother, Ryan William Andrews, 38, and Angela Ray Andrews, 35, were each charged with murder and aggravated sex abuse, both first-degree felonies. Ryan Andrews told police shortly after the murder that his disciplining of Shelby got out of hand. Investigators uncovered a long history of abuse. Ryan pleaded guilty to first-degree felony murder in exchange for a charge of child sex abuse being dropped. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 22. A trial against Angela Andrews is still being prepared.

33. OGDEN, Aug. 6 —Teresa Axbom, 35, was found dead inside a house that was set on fire. Danny Allen Reyes, 30, was charged with first-degree felony murder and aggravated arson. Investigators say he used a meat cleaver to hit Axbom in the back of the head several times and then set the house on fire to try to cover up the slaying. He was charged with murder, aggravated arson and tampering with evidence and a witness. His next court date had not been scheduled as of late December pending the outcome of a mental competency evaluation. A co-defendant is charged with multiple felonies in connection with the crime, including aggravated arson and desecration of a dead human body.

34. BOUNTIFUL, Aug. 7 — Laura Hauck, 51, was shot twice in the head, her throat slit and her body dumped in a freezer in her house. It took police three days to thaw her body before they could positively identify her. Her son, 18-year-old Jeremy Hauck, was arrested in Missoula, Mont., thanks to a long-shot inquiry by Bountiful police to every hotel in the area. He was charged with first-degree felony homicide.Hauck's next scheduled court appearance is Jan. 23.

35. SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 17 — Rodolfo Cepulveda Soto, 26, was shot to death in the hallway of the Victoria House apartments, 837 S. 400 East. Juan Noriega, 22, was arrested a few days later. Investigators said Soto and Noriega had a fistfight prior to the shooting, but they did not know what prompted it. Noriega's next scheduled court appearance is Friday.

36. LOGAN, Aug. 22 — Tyson Robertson Denny, 2, was beaten to death by his father. Mychal Denny, 23, pleaded guilty in September to child abuse homicide, a second-degree felony. Denny said he became upset with his son for wetting the bed and elbowed and punched him in the stomach. He was sentenced to one to 15 years at the Utah State Prison.

37. STANSBURY PARK, Aug. 30 — Tina Rene Evans, 42, was stabbed to death in the bed of her Stansbury Park home. Her live-in boyfriend, 47-year-old Johnny D. Bevan, who tried to commit suicide after Evans' death, was arrested and charged with murder. Evans' children from another marriage and a couple of their friends were in the basement of the house at the time of the slaying. Bevan said the two had been fighting and he was upset that Evans planned to leave him. His next scheduled court date is Jan. 23.

38. CLEARFIELD, Sept. 12 — Karl Kuhn, 21, was stabbed to death in the parking lot of Macey's Food and Drug. Michael Moll, 18, later surrendered to authorities and was charged with first-degree felony murder. Kuhn did some work for a landscaping business run by Moll and his father. He said he was owed about $50 and confronted Moll. Police say that initial argument escalated into the stabbing death. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 19.

39. MURRAY, Sept. 16 — Marchello Cecala was shot to death while driving away from a party near 300 East and 4500 South. He then crashed into a tree. Brandon Christopher Wallace, 22, and Anthony David Milligan, 19, were charged with first-degree felony murder. Police say the motive was still unknown as of early December. A preliminary hearing for both men is scheduled to begin Jan. 25.

40. BEAVER, Sept. 16 — Grace Erno was shot by her husband, 82-year-old Robert Erno, who then turned the gun on himself. The couple, who had been married for 60 years, suffered from serious medical conditions. The two made out their wills and made their funeral arrangements before driving from their home in St. George to a dirt road near Beaver to complete the murder-suicide pact. The couple had reportedly said they could not stand the idea of living without each other.

41. ST. GEORGE, Sept. 26 — Maria Rivas was stabbed to death in her home. Police say she was killed by her estranged husband, 40-year-old Jaime Antonio Lopez Sr., who accused his wife of having an affair because she worked in construction. Lopez had a history of having a jealous temper, according to police. A preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 16.

42. WEST JORDAN, Oct. 3 — Jamie L. Vance, 21, was shot to death by a former boyfriend she had been trying to break up with after he managed to get inside her house. Anoulack Bphanphonsavat, 22, then turned the shotgun on himself. Both were found dead at the bottom of a staircase.

43. OREM, Oct. 16 — Tonja Marie Nash, 40, was shot in front of her 8-year-old son. Keith Lamont Morton, 50, Nash's live-in boyfriend, was arrested and charged with capital murder in the slaying. Alcohol was believed to be a factor. A preliminary hearing is set for Thursday.

44. SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 27 — Raymond Jay McGaughy, 27, was found shot to death on the lawn of a Salt Lake house, 309 N. 900 West. His roommate, Christine Armstrong, was later arrested in the kidnap, rape and torture of another woman. Investigators say she and McGaughy allegedly attacked the woman just 10 days prior to his death. No arrests have been made in connection with the homicide.

45. RICHFIELD, Nov. 17 — Catherine Adams, 36, was found shot in the head and the chest in the apartment she was renting. Police believe she was killed by her husband, 46-year-old John Adams, who then committed suicide. The Florida couple left suicide notes saying they were suffering from ongoing health problems, according to police.

46. WASHINGTON TERRACE, Nov. 18 — Arouralee Randles, 3 months, was strangled with a sock by her mother's boyfriend, according to police. Trevor "Tyson" Thomas Grover, 27, was charged with first-degree felony murder. Grover was seeing Randles' mother while her husband, and Arouralee's biological father, was serving in the U.S. military in Iraq and Korea. The court ordered mental competency testing for Grover. A review on his evaluation is scheduled for Jan. 22.