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Judge wants killer to stay in prison for life

Man shot his former girlfriend in 2006, left body in canyon

Tiffany Britt Jarmon
Tiffany Britt Jarmon
Family Photo

LOGAN — A man who shot his ex-girlfriend to death and dumped her body off a steep canyon embankment two years ago was sentenced to prison Wednesday.

First District Judge Kevin Allen ordered Robert Warren Ferretti to serve 15 years to life in prison for killing Tiffany Britt Jarmon, 33.

The Salt Lake woman had led a somewhat troubled life plagued with drug addiction, but also was a parent, daughter, sister and friend.

"You murdered this woman in cold blood," the judge told Ferretti. "You thought because she was a person of little significance in this world that no one would care. Fortunately, you were wrong. The state of Utah did not forget about Tiffany Jarmon."

Allen said he intended to write to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, recommending that Ferretti never be released.

Becky Jarmon, the victim's mother, wept as she told the judge that what Ferretti did to her daughter was reprehensible and it sickened her to be in the same room with him.

"What do you say about a man like this?" Becky Jarmon asked. "I don't want another mother to run the risk of going through the pain I had to go through. He took my daughter, but he did not take my memories."

Tricia Jarmon also was upset with the man who killed her younger sister.

"Tiffany was sunshine — she only wanted to love and be loved," she said. "You are a monster, a murderer and, did I mention, a coward? We will never recover from this tragedy. I wish and hope and pray that you will spend the rest of your natural life in prison."

Tricia Jarmon especially deplored the suffering their mother had endured when she got the few remains of Tiffany's body "in a box," which meant cremation, rather than a proper funeral and burial, was the only thing the family could do.

Wednesday's sentencing was delayed for a few hours after Ferretti abruptly tried to withdraw a guilty plea he had entered on Jan. 11. He had 30 days to legally withdraw the plea — and Wednesday was the last day to do so.

Ferretti said wording in legal documents had been changed, that he did not exactly understand what he was pleading guilty to, and that he never intended to kill Jarmon.

However, after lengthy discussions among the judge and attorneys, Allen questioned Ferretti extensively in court to see if the guilty plea had been entered "knowingly and voluntarily." The judge even read back portions of the plea agreement that originally had been read aloud to Ferretti in court in January when he admitted he had committed the crime.

Ferretti also apologized to Jarmon's family at the January hearing.

The judge ruled that although Ferretti appears to regret having pleaded guilty, all the necessary legal steps were followed and he had indeed entered a valid guilty plea. The judge concluded Wednesday that sentencing could go forward.

Jarmon's relatives were alternately tearful and enraged as the events unfolded on Wednesday, although after the sentencing, they hugged police officers and prosecutors.

Ferretti, 43, pleaded guilty to murder, a first-degree felony. As part of the plea bargain, a charge of obstructing justice, a second-degree felony, was dismissed.

Ferretti at that time admitted that in October or November 2008, he killed Jarmon. Her badly decomposed body was found in Logan Canyon in November of that year by a man looking for a good fishing spot.

Cache County Attorney James Swink credited exceptional police work and a little bit of luck for solving the case.

Tiffany Jarmon had been shot in the face with a .38-caliber bullet, according to forensic pathologists. Ferretti said in his plea agreement that he had shot her in his car. A pre-sentence report cited two friends of Ferretti's who had told police that he had killed his ex-girlfriend, according to Swink.

Swink said one friend stated Ferretti had confessed that he had taken someone into the canyons to shoot the individual, but did not get to where he wanted to go because "that person would not shut up."

Ferretti shot the individual, and the friend reported that Ferretti "laughed and said, 'Oh, got nothin' to say?' " Swink told the judge.

Ferretti also got online and showed the individual media reports about Jarmon's murder. Swink said both of Ferretti's friends feared for their own lives after he told them about the slaying.

Swink previously said he believed Ferretti made the last-minute decision to plead guilty because the case against him was so strong with DNA evidence, the friends' statements and other evidence.

Investigators found DNA evidence on Jarmon's clothes. Later, Jarmon's blood was found in a Toyota 4 Runner that had been owned by Ferretti that ended up in a Salt Lake area salvage yard. A man who got the vehicle said "the passenger seat was gone when he picked it up," according to a search warrant.

A police detective said he saw "a dark pool of possible dried blood in one of the recesses of the door panel," dark stains elsewhere inside the vehicle, and noted that the carpeting on the passenger side had been removed.

Ferretti was arrested in Pueblo, Colo., four months to the day after Jarmon's body was identified and was held there until Utah law enforcement officials could bring him back.

e-mail: lindat@desnews.com