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Trial date set for American Fork man charged with murdering employee

SHARE Trial date set for American Fork man charged with murdering employee

PROVO — A trial date has been set for an American Fork man police say shot and killed a former employee last December.

Ramon Alfredo Somoza, 29, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder in the death of Jesus Landin, 46. He also pleaded not guilty to obstructing justice, a second-degree felony, and abuse or desecration of a dead human body, a third-degree felony.

The eight-day jury trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 31, 2011. Prosecutor Chad Grunander said the delay is to allow forensic evidence to be returned from both the crime scene and the scene where the body was found.

"If we try this case as expected in early February, that's only 13 months since the murder allegedly happened," Grunander said. "That's not much of a delay."

On Dec. 28, 2009, police say Somoza invited Landin over to discuss money that Landin believed Somoza owed him from when Landin worked for Somoza as a security guard at the Apollo Dance Hall in American Fork. Two witnesses testified that Landin told them he was going to finally get paid that night, though no one was sure exactly how much money Landin was planning on getting.

That evening, police say Somoza shot Landin six times and killed him.

Defense attorney Steven Burton argued that Somoza shot in self-defense. In an interview with police, Somoza said Landin pulled out a screwdriver and became violent during the meeting.

Police say Somoza wrapped the body in garbage bags and duct tape and left it in Nevada, approximately 20 miles from the border.

— Abigail Shaha