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3 charged with murder in Kearns shooting

SHARE 3 charged with murder in Kearns shooting
A former Carbon County emergency services director who used a county credit card to buy thousands of dollars worth of items for his houseboat is going to prison.

Lewellyn Auvaa, Paul Tuese Ama, and Joleen Warner all face first-degree murder charges in the June 5 shooting of John Herman Tonga.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Three people have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Midvale man earlier this month.

Charges were filed Thursday against Lewellyn Auvaa, Paul Tuese Ama, and Joleen Warner in connection to the June 5 shooting of John Herman Tonga.

Tonga, 34, was found dead from gunshot wounds in the front yard of a Kearns house at 4805 S. 4720 West. There were six people inside the home who weren't injured.

One witness, Zachary Ama, told police that he, Auvaa, Paul Ama, and Warner went to the house that morning because Auvaa, Paul Ama, and Warner wanted to rob an acquaintance of theirs named Julio, according to charging documents. While Paul Ama and Warner were allegedly robbing Julio at gunpoint inside the house, Tonga entered the room with a gun, Zachary Ama said.

Zachary Ama said shots were fired inside the house, though he could not say who had fired a gun, according to the charges. He said he, Auvaa, and Warner ran out of the front door of the house; Tonga also came out the front door, Zachary Ama said, before falling to the ground.

Aauva and Warner left in a car, Zachary Ama said. He told police that he left the scene on foot after looking for Paul Ama and not finding him.

Paul Ama was dropped off at Intermountain Healthcare in Taylorsville that morning with gunshot wounds to his hand and thigh, according to charging documents, but he would not provide police with any information about the shooting.

Warner was found several days later at a Best Western, where police found methamphetamine and a semi-automatic pistol in her room, according to charging documents. Auvaa was arrested after police found him walking along the sidewalk near 1500 West and 3500 South on June 8.

Auvaa, 38, Paul Ama, 42, Warner, 37, are each charged with murder, a first-degree felony; two counts of felony discharge of a firearm, a first-degree felony; aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony; and aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony.

Paul Ama is also charged with possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person, a second-degree felony.