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Possible deal delayed for man accused of trying to kill wife, friend

SALT LAKE CITY — What looked like a possible resolution in the case of a Millcreek man accused of brutally attempting to kill his estranged wife and her friend last year did not move forward Wednesday when the defendant refused to be transported from jail.

The arraignment for Vallentin Dulla Santarromana, 38, was also slated to include a disposition and sentencing, according to court documents. However, when the time came to bring Santarromana from the Salt Lake County Jail, the man refused, prompting 3rd District Judge Royal Hansen to order reasonable force be used to mandate his appearance in court.

Once Santarromana arrived, both sides announced they had agreed to continue the hearing, scheduling to meet again on May 12 and adjourning without further discussion.

Both Santarromana's estranged wife, Jenny Andrus, and her friend, Jai Hogue, were in the courtroom and expected to speak Wednesday had Santarromana entered a plea and proceeded to sentencing. Investigators say that on Aug. 22 Santarromana attacked Andrus in the home they once shared, shooting her five times and holding her hostage for hours, after shooting Hogue 11 times in the street outside.

Defense attorney Michael Misner said hope remains that the case can be resolved without a trial, but his client still had questions Wednesday about the possible deal with prosecutors.

"This is an emotional case on both sides. We want to make sure everybody knows what happens so that we can do it right," Misner said, adding that his client "was confused" and had more questions for the attorney.

"I need to do some legwork to get those issues resolved so that he can make a decision of whether he wants to go forward with a disposition in the case or go to trial," he said.

The order authorizing a reasonable use of force to mandate Santarromana to attend the arraignment remains in place for the May 12 hearing.

Prosecutors declined comment Wednesday and details about the possible plea deal have not been released.

Santarromana is facing 31 felony charges — two counts of attempted murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and numerous counts of discharging a firearm. He waived a preliminary hearing earlier this month.

Police say Santarromana was upset about his pending divorce and blamed Hogue for his wife leaving him.

Andrus and Hogue went to the home, 3313 S. Scott Court, not knowing Santarromana would be there. Investigators say Santarromana shot Hogue, leaving her wounded outside, dragged Andrus into the house, attacking her with a meat cleaver and shooting her, including a shot to the head that took her eye.

Hogue was sustained in a medically induced coma for months following the shooting.

Before she was rescued by a Unified police SWAT team, Andrus was held hostage for several hours. Santarromana is accused of firing on the officers as they rushed to save Andrus.

Andrus had requested a protective order against her husband days just days prior to the shooting in connection with a previous alleged domestic violence incident. That case, charging Santarromana with aggravated assault and three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, was also scheduled for arraignment and disposition Wednesday.

Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting the YWCA, Women in Jeopardy, 801-537-8600, or the Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-897-LINK (5465).

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero