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Utah’s 2019 victims of homicide

A woman holds an electric candle during a vigil for Mackenzie Lueck, a University of Utah student believed to have been murdered, on the University of Utah Union lawn in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019.
A woman holds an electric candle during a vigil for Mackenzie Lueck, a University of Utah student believed to have been murdered, on the University of Utah Union lawn in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

In 2019, 80 people became victims of homicide in Utah.

The number is similar to 2018’s total of 78 homicides and there were also 80 homicides in the state during 2017, according to statistics kept by the Deseret News. There were 90 in 2016, the state’s all-time high.

Homicide is defined as the killing of one human being at the hands of another. The 2019 number of homicides could go up if several unsolved deaths are later determined to be the result of another person’s actions.

Following is a look at the circumstances surrounding each of the homicide victims killed in Utah during the year.

Provo police officer Joseph Shinners
Provo Police Department

1. OREM, Jan. 5 — Provo police officer Joseph Shinners, 29, was shot in a parking lot at 50 W. University Parkway while assisting in the arrest of Matt Frank Hoover, 40. Hoover had recently made threats of violence against officers and indicated he wanted to die by suicide after killing an officer. Shinners was trying to help an officer get Hoover out of his vehicle when Hoover allegedly shot Shinners once on the left side of his chest. Shinners returned fire, striking Hoover once in the abdomen. Shinners died shortly after in a hospital. Hoover lived and is charged with capital murder.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

Wylie Prince
Hughes Mortuary

2. WASHINGTON, Washington County, Jan. 7 — Wylie Prince, 20, of Washington, died from a drug overdose. Gadge Leelynd Christensen, 19, is charged in 5th District Court with negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor, for allegedly selling heroin to Prince.

Alleged motive: Accidental overdose

Method: Drugs

Mason Hunt
Anderson and Sons Mortuary

3. SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 12 — Four people, including two teenagers, allegedly planned to steal marijuana from a home at 359 N. Star Crest Drive (1840 West). A resident hid in the bathroom and called Mason Hunt, 26, of Salt Lake City, who also lived in the home. Colton James Beed, 20, and his group initially drove away from the house, but returned to steal more items, according to police. Hunt arrived and was hit over the head with a rifle and then shot. Beed; Chase Anthony Chavira, 20; Nathan Jesus Amaton, 16; and Alexander Steven Nain, 17, are each charged with murder.

Alleged motive: Robbery, drugs

Method: Shooting

Ashley Vigil
Facebook.com

4. SOUTH SALT LAKE, Jan. 15 — Ashley Vigil, 26, of Salt Lake City, died after her boyfriend, Angelo Terry Kirstine, 24, allegedly stabbed her in the neck. Kirstine’s 15-year-old sister found Vigil dead in an apartment, 820 W. 3900 South, after Kirstine went to his grandparents’ home to tell them something had happened. Kirstine suffers from mental health issues, according to police. He is charged with murder.

Alleged motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Stabbing

David Stokoe
Family photo

5. SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 17 — Police say South Jordan realtor David Stokoe, 40, was shot four times during an argument over rent with tenants suspected of using drugs. Police found his body partially wrapped in a blanket in a hidden, crawl space-type area of an apartment he owned at 878 E. Princeton Ave. Manuel Velasquez, 31, of South Salt Lake, is charged with murder. He and Jessica Louise Miller, 38, were renting the upstairs apartment of the home. Miller is charged with helping Velasquez move the body, and Diana Hernandez was convicted of helping the couple move items from the house.

Alleged motive: Fight over rent

Method: Shooting

Jose Ramirez
Facebook.com

6. MIDVALE, Jan. 25 — Jose Ramirez, 4 months, was found dead in a room at Motel 6, 7263 Catalpa St. (440 West). Police say he had multiple bruises and was extremely thin. Officers already at the motel received a call of a child not breathing and ran to the child’s room. The boy’s parents and a sibling were present at the time of the baby’s death. The parents, Jose Ramirez, 21, and Jessica Lujan, 20, both pleaded guilty to child abuse homicide and will be sentenced next month.

Motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Abuse

Sarah Hawley, pictured in this photo from the University of Utah, was found dead inside her Sugar House home on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. Salt Lake police believe Travis Geddes, 30, who was also found dead in the home, killed Hawley, 27, and then killed hims
Sarah Hawley
University of Utah

7. SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 27 — Sarah Hawley, 27, and Travis Geddes, 30, were found dead in their Sugar House home, 1825 E. Ramona Ave. (1925 South). Investigators believe Geddes shot Hawley and then shot himself. Hawley, who graduated from the University of California, San Francisco Medical School, had recently begun a residency at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Shooting

Dylan Tyson Millan
Facebook.com

8. LOGAN, Feb. 1 — Police say a confrontation between two men who dated the same woman turned deadly after the ex-boyfriend, Dylan Tyson Millan, 23, of Logan, went to the woman’s apartment on River Bend Road after earlier texting her. Several people, including the woman and her current boyfriend, Jeremy Boyle, were inside. At some point, Millan was shot by Boyle. Boyle told a 911 operator he shot Millan because “he was making threats.” The Cache County Attorney’s Office declined to file charges in the case.

Motive: Self-defense, domestic

Method: Shooting

DJ Parkinson
Aaron’s Mortuary and Cremation

9. OGDEN, Feb. 2 — DJ Parkinson, 28, of Ogden, was trying to intervene and help a woman who was being assaulted in an alley when Xavier Soto, 18, chased him to Monroe Boulevard and fatally stabbed him, police say. A passersby found Parkinson lying in the grass in the 2200 block of Monroe Boulevard with “significant injuries to his torso.” Soto is a member of the Ogden Trece street gang, according to police, and he pleaded guilty to murder.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Stabbing

Marquez Grajeda
GoFundMe

10. WEST VALLEY CITY, Feb. 5 — Marquez Grajeda, 15, of West Valley City, was shot and killed inside a home at 1347 W. 2320 South. He and others were at the home during a school lunch break. A 14-year-old boy picked up a gun in a bedroom and waved it around before pointing it at Grajeda and firing. He told police he thought the safety was on. The teen was convicted of manslaughter and was ordered to secure care.

Motive: Accident

Method: Shooting

Belinda Thomas
Jess C. Spencer Mortuary and Crematory

11. WEST VALLEY CITY, Feb. 9 — Police were called to 3292 W. Chester Park Drive (2850 South) on a report of an injured woman and arrived to find Belinda Thomas, 46, on the floor of her trailer home. A 12-year-old boy who lives in the area found Thomas when he went to invite her to a birthday party. She and her intoxicated boyfriend were arguing over finances when he stabbed her. Thomas’ young son told investigators “that he watched his mother’s boyfriend stab her with a knife.” Darren Fitzgerald Byrd, 50, was sentenced to 15 years to life for murder.

Motive: Domestic fight

Method: Stabbing

Kameron Johnson
Family photo

12. OGDEN, Feb. 11 — Kameron Johnson, 18, of Ogden, was shot and killed and his brother, Eric Johnson Jr., 20, was shot and critically injured when two men allegedly broke into their home to steal drugs. Eric Johnson told police “his one-time friend, Theron Farmer” and Daniel Ross Viegas-Gonzalez came over to the house, both displayed guns, and Viegas-Gonzalez opened fire. Farmer, 23, and Viegas-Gonzalez, 28, are charged with aggravated murder.

Alleged motive: Robbery, drugs

Method: Shooting

Steven Richard Nyce
Aaron’s Mortuary & Cremation

13. MILLCREEK, Feb. 18 — Steven Richard Nyce, 61, of Millcreek, was found dead with severe head injuries after police were called to a house at 1280 E. 3770 South. Witnesses say Tyler James Vernon, 37, ran outside with bloody hands yelling that someone was hurt. It appeared there had been a struggle in the room where Nyce was found, police said. Police said Vernon was overheard shortly after the incident saying “he was making fun of me.” When he was taken into custody, Vernon allegedly referred to the officers as “demons” and “commanded them to release him in the name of his god.” Vernon is charged with murder.

Motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Beating

Blaine Reed, 35, an Idaho Falls police officer, was shot and killed on Feb. 21 in a Layton home after police say he entered the home uninvited and confronted the homeowner about a relationship he believed the man was having with his ex-girlfriend.
Blaine Reed
Idaho Falls Police Department

14. LAYTON, Feb. 21 — Blaine Reed, 35, an Idaho Falls police officer, burst into a home at 312 W. Park Ave. uninvited to confront the homeowner, Jared Pemberton, 35, “about a relationship he believed the homeowner was having with his ex-girlfriend.” Reed was shot and killed by Pemberton. Although Layton police consulted with the Davis County Attorney’s Office, the case was not forwarded for a formal screening as police believed it was a “clear case” of self-defense.

Motive: Self-defense, domestic

Method: Shooting

15. SANDY, Feb. 27 — A 6-year-old boy identified only as “N.C.” died two days after paramedics were called to the home of his mother, Reyna Elizabeth Flores-Rosales, 30, at 7890 S. Manzano Drive, where she said she had found her son unresponsive on the floor of the shower after he had been in for an hour, police said. Paramedics and doctors reported “multiple injuries and scars” on the boy’s body and a large burn to his entire buttocks area, as well as several scars, burns and open sores. Investigators say the boy also suffered severe brain trauma. Flores-Rosales is charged with aggravated murder and aggravated sex abuse of a child. Sandy police and the district attorney’s office have refused to release the boy’s name.

Motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Abuse

Dominique Barnett
Facebook.com

16. OREM, Feb. 28 — Dominique Barnett, 26, of Orem, arrived with his girlfriend and infant at Parkway Lofts Apartments, 1225 W. 1000 South, to confront Elbert John Paule, 19, about an ongoing dispute over a drug deal, police said. Paule is accused of shooting Barnett point-blank in the torso with a 12-gauge shotgun after opening the door. After the shooting, Paule threw the shotgun off his third-story balcony and ran out the front door, stepping over Barnett’s body, police said. Paule is charged with murder.

Alleged motive: Drugs

Method: Shooting

Maria de Jesus Cervantes
Hawker Funeral Homes

17. BOTHWELL, Box Elder County, March 3 — Maria de Jesus Cervantes, 53, was stabbed to death. Her husband, Jose Gutierrez-Torres, 39, is charged with murder. Earlier that day, Gutierrez-Torres allegedly called family members saying “he had done something stupid and that he needed medical (attention) and that his wife needed medical as well,” and that he was going to “join” a relative who had died a week earlier. Gutierrez-Torres was found incompetent to face the charge, but with a likelihood competency can be restored.

Motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Stabbing

Tilman Bitsoie
Find a Grave

18. WOODS CROSS, March 5 — Tilman Bitsoie, 45, of Arizona, died at a hospital a day after police say he was punched by Ross Alan Letham, 31, at the InTown Suites Extended Stay Motel, 635 S. 700 West. Letham came out of his room to confront Bitsoie, who he thought was being too loud on the phone. Later, while Bitsoie was outside smoking, Letham “again confronted him and was threatening to fight him.” Letham is accused of punching Bitsoie, who fell to the ground unconscious, hitting his head. Letham pleaded guilty to homicide by assault and was sentenced to up to five years in prison.

Motive: Fight

Method: Assault

Andrew Wayne Miller
Broomhead Funeral Home

19. MURRAY, March 10 — Investigators say Andrew Wayne Miller, 32, of Riverton, used a rock to break a sliding glass door connecting a carport and a house at 440 E. 5900 South. Inside there was a confrontation with the homeowner, Danny Petty, 69, who shot Miller. Miller died a short time later at a hospital. The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against Petty.

Motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

Maureen Magdelena Fiore-Webster
Facebook.com

20. SANDY, March 13 — Maureen Magdelena Fiore-Webster, 36, and her husband, Jeffrey Ward Webster, 38, were shot inside their home at 916 E. 11190 South. Police responded after a “glass break burglar alarm” was triggered. The woman died while the couple was enroute to a hospital. Officers found shotgun shells in the backyard and the sliding glass door was shattered. No arrests have been made and no motive given by police.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

Arianna Stout
Arianna Stout
Ashley Valley Funeral Home

21. VERNAL, March 14 — Officers were called to a home at 1536 W. 300 South in Vernal on reports of an unresponsive child. Arianna Stout, 3, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a hospital. An autopsy showed the cause was asphyxia. Her stepmother, Mckenley Yadon, 24, later “admitted to smothering” the girl with a blanket from the child’s bed, police said. Yadon is charged with aggravated murder.

Motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Asphyxiation

Jerrad Jacobsen
Serenicare Funeral Home

22. KEARNS, March 18 — Jerrad Jacobsen, 16, of Kearns, and his 15-year-old stepbrother had a shotgun in a bedroom at 5007 W. 5400 South when Jerrad was fatally shot. The stepbrother originally told police Jerrad had shot himself in the head. He later said he “grabbed the gun, pointed it at (Jerrad) and pulled the trigger. (He) stated that he thought the shotgun was unloaded, but the gun went off and (Jerrad) fell over,” the charges state. The stepbrother admitted to manslaughter and was sentenced to an indefinite term in a secure detention facility. Some family members say they don’t believe the killing was an accident.

Motive: Accident

Method: Shooting

Bianca Villalobos
Kramer Family Funeral Home

23. OGDEN, March 19 — Bianca Villalobos, 31, was shot and killed by her mother, Maria Villalobos, 63, who then turned the gun on herself and died of a self-inflicted wound, according to police. Officers were called about 2 a.m. to 1627 27th St. to conduct a welfare check after someone found the two women deceased.

Motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Shooting

Ray Paul Willie Vasquez Salt Lake County Jail

24. MIDVALE, March 20 — Ray Paul Willie Vasquez, 40, had just bought a drink at Maverik, 7720 S. Main, and was sitting in his car when a Jeep Wrangler pulled up and parked next to him. The driver of the Jeep, Jose Luis Garcia, 24, got out of his vehicle and shot and killed Vasquez, according to police. Police say the two men knew each other. Garcia was found dead following a police chase later that night. Garcia suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound and his car rolled through a school fence at 1545 E. 8425 South and down a steep hill.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

Cory Haney
Larkin Mortuary

25. SALT LAKE CITY, March 21 — Cory Haney, 40, was found dead in a hallway of his home at 797 E. Northcliffe Dr. (600 North), from multiple stab wounds to his head and neck. As officers arrived after receiving a 911 call about a fight, they reported hearing a man screaming for help and saying things like, “He tried to kill me” and “I killed him.” Upstairs, police found Jesse Joel Bruce, 40, on the floor complaining of a broken leg, with a knife next to him. Bruce allegedly told police “I killed my best friend for 25 years.” Bruce, who had been renting a room in Haney’s house, is charged with murder.

Motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Stabbing

Harold Vincent Robinson
Harold Vincent Robinson
Salt Lake County Jail

26. SOUTH SALT LAKE, April 8 — Harold Vincent Robinson, 37, of West Valley City, who police say was “firing indiscriminately throughout the city,” was shot and killed by police following a dramatic high-speed chase that ended in a hail of bullets on a busy State Street after Robinson crashed into the front of a business. Dozens of shell casings littered State Street near 3400 South after officers from multiple local, state and federal agencies opened fire on Robinson, who police believe robbed two convenience stores at gunpoint before firing shots — apparently at random — at several locations throughout Salt Lake City while leading officers on the chase.

Alleged motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

Brandon Stufflebean
Cache Valley Mortuary

27. CLEARFIELD, April 13 — Brandon Stufflebean, 39, died in a hospital after being punched by a gas station owner at 680 N. Main, police said. Officers were called to the Chevron on a report of a fight over the price of a drink, and found Stufflebean unconscious. After reviewing surveillance footage and witness statements, the Davis County Attorney’s Office said Jacob Abbott will not face charges and the punching appeared justified.

Motive: Self-defense

Method: Assault

Frank Wynn Bringard
Olpin Stevens Funeral Home

28. DELTA, April 14 — Frank Wynn Bringard, 76, was found dead of a gunshot wound on the living room floor at 98 W. 1000 North after John Peck, 63, reported he had shot his brother and needed help. When officers arrived, they met an “emotional” Peck outside the home and arrested him. Peck told police they were fighting over property titles because he thought his brother was lying to him. Peck pleaded guilty to murder with a mental illness.

Motive: Fight, money

Method: Shooting

Gerad Ferrin Ohlwiler
Affordable Funerals and Cremations

29. SALT LAKE CITY, April 15 — Gerad Ferrin Ohlwiler, 41, of Salt Lake City, was shot near 1050 W. Wenco Drive (1595 South). Several people called 911 about 4:35 a.m. after hearing multiple gunshots. Officers arrived to find Ohlwiler’s body at the end of a driveway near the street. No arrests have been made in the case. Investigators do not believe that the attack was random.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

Michael Fife
Matthews Mortuary Idaho

30. LOGAN, April 27 — A 16-year-old girl claimed Michael Fife, 62, sexually assaulted her while the two were on a Cache Valley Transit District bus on April 23. The girl immediately called her 17-year-old brother and told him about the alleged assault. But police said video evidence shows that there was no sexual assault. Police said the brother located Fife getting off the bus near 300 South and 100 West, ran toward him and attacked him. Fife fell to the sidewalk, suffered head injuries and was left unconscious while the brother ran away. Fife died four days later in a hospital. The brother was charged with homicide by assault and was later ordered to serve 30 days in juvenile detention.

Motive: Revenge

Method: Assault

Jake Gengelbach
Facebook.com

31. WEST VALLEY CITY, April 28 — An officer checking business parking lots in the area where the sound of gunshots was reported found Jake Gengelbach, 22, dead in the Hire’s Big H parking lot at 4700 S. 2900 West. Police said Gengelbach and Hassan Al-Rekabi, 18, met to fight. Investigators later received an anonymous tip saying Al-Rekabi was “looking for someone to drive him out of state because he had been in a fight and shot the person.” Al-Rekabi is charged with murder.

Alleged motive: Fight

Method: Shooting

Mischa Ryan Cox
Salt Lake County Jail

32. SALT LAKE CITY, May 2 — Employees at Ace Hardware, 612 E. 400 South, tried to stop Mischa Ryan Cox, 30, who walked out of the store with items he allegedly shoplifted. A struggle ensued between Cox and the employees, and then two bystanders who tried to help. Cox was taken to the ground and restrained. By the time police arrived, he had no pulse and was not breathing. Cox was pronounced dead four days later. Salt Lake police say the death is a homicide, but there was no intent and no charges will be filed in the death.

Motive: Restraining shoplifter

Method: Assault

William Randy Jones
Mitchell Funeral Home

33. MOHRLAND, Emery County, May 2 — William Randy Jones, 61, of Price, was discovered dead on a cutoff road between Mohrland and Hiawatha. He died of head trauma, police said, and he also had his ring finger cut off. Friends of Jones told investigators they had been with him on April 28 in a motel room in Price when Brandon Michael Samples, 37, called to say he was coming over to take Jones for a ride to talk. Samples’ girlfriend, Anna Brewer, arrived with him and told police she saw Samples hit Jones with a baseball bat. Samples, who is in prison, is charged with murder.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Beating

Freya Larsen
Berg Mortuary

34. PROVO, May 7 — Police say Freya Larsen, 27, and Michael Taylor Robinson, 27, both of Provo, got into an altercation at an apartment in the 300 block of Center Street. Robinson allegedly shot Larsen in the head as she stood near the front door. He then called 911. During the call, Robinson allegedly said “she scared him and he shot her. He also stated that they were fighting and she told him she was going to kill him and she was mad at him.” He later said “he shot her but it was an accident,” according to police. Officers said the couple had a history of domestic violence. Robinson is charged with murder.

Alleged motive: Domestic fight

Method: Shooting

Adalyn Monson
Family photo

35. WEST VALLEY CITY, May 10 — Adalyn Monson, 4 months old, died three days after police say her 16-year-old babysitter shook her. When police were called to the Shadowbrook Apartments, 3852 S. 1845 West, they found her unresponsive. The teen later told officers he had thrown the girl into the air before she lost consciousness because she “was not being responsive, was crying, would not take a bottle, and had not had a dirty diaper all day,” police said. The boy is charged with child abuse homicide.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Child abuse

36. SALT LAKE CITY, May 14 — Police say two 18-year-old men and two 17-year-old boys forced their way into a house at 245 N. Rendon Court (635 West) attempting to take something, but police did not know what or if anything was taken from the house. After the four males ran, they got into a car to drive away. But one of the occupants of the house chased after them and fired several shots at the car as it was leaving. The driver, Abubakar Mohammad, 18, was struck and killed, causing the car to crash near 200 North and 600 West. The gunman is 17, according to police. He has not been arrested and no charges have been filed. But police say they do not believe the killing qualifies as self-defense and the investigation is continuing.

Alleged motive: Theft

Method: Shooting

37. OGDEN, May 18 — Mauricio Alejandro Hernandez, 25, of Ogden, was shot three times and killed at 511 31st Street. Everardo Guadarrama-Garcia, 24, is charged with murder. Police said that when interviewed, Guadarrama-Garcia told them, “I killed him,” in Spanish.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

Dennis Gwyther
Dalton-Hoopes Funeral Home

38. SNOWVILLE, Box Elder County, May 22 — Dennis Gwyther, 50, of Salt Lake City, and another man were driving on I-84 from Utah to Boise. They got stopped in traffic when one semitrailer attempted to pass another semitrailer near Snowville. When traffic began to open up, police say another driver, Jonathan Mendoza Llana, 45, of Los Angeles, shot at Gwyther and his passenger with a high-powered rifle for no apparent reason. Gwyther was killed and his passenger was injured. Llana was found in Idaho two days later. He is charged with aggravated murder. A judge found him incompetent to face the charge and sent him to the Utah State Hospital for competency restoration treatment.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley, 5, of Logan.
Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley
Family photo

39. LOGAN, May 25 — Elizabeth Shelley, 5, was discovered missing from her home on Logan’s west side. Her uncle, Alex Whipple, 21, who had been invited to stay the night at his sister’s house after drinking, was also gone. After four days of searching, police found Lizzy’s body when Whipple agreed to tell his attorney where she was hidden — just ½ block away from her home. Whipple pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, child kidnapping, rape of a child and sodomy on a child. Whipple told police his family never treated him well and his grandfather believes his motive was to hurt the family.

Motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Stabbing

40. OGDEN, June 1 — Scott Perkins, 56, of Ogden, was assaulted by another man near 790 W. 17th Street. Police say he was taken to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries. There have been no arrests in the case.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Beating

Del Patrick Longacre
Facebook.com

41. SALT LAKE CITY, June 2 — Police were called to an assault at 235 S. 500 West and found an unconscious Del Patrick Longacre, 58. He died two days later. Police said the cause was blunt force trauma. Multiple witnesses told police they saw an argument between Longacre and Robert Walter Baker, 38. Baker allegedly punched Longacre and then ran away. Baker later told investigators that “he confronted Del Patrick about his stolen backpack” and Longacre “got into his face and raised his right arm like he was going to hit him.” Baker is charged with homicide by assault.

Alleged motive: Fight

Method: Assault

Jeremy Sorensen
Jeremy Sorensen
Family photo

42. PROVO, June 4 — Jeremy Sorensen, 26, was shot twice in the chest by a neighbor, Adam Taylor, 22, in front of their apartment complex, 260 E. 500 North. Taylor saw Sorensen in a physical fight with a woman in the driveway of the apartment complex. Before the shooting, Taylor got out of his car and told Sorensen to stop fighting and warned him that he would shoot. The woman got away, but Sorensen was shot after he walked “aggressively” toward Taylor. He died the next day. The Utah County Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against Taylor.

Motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

43. KEARNS, June 5 — John Herman Tonga, 34, of Midvale, was found in the front yard of a home at 4805 S. 4720 West after a shooting in the house. Six other people were inside the home at the time of the shooting. Three people went to the house to steal from an acquaintance who lived there, a witness who went with them told police. As the robbery was taking place, Tonga, who had been standing outside the house, entered the man’s room with a gun and was shot by the robbers, police say. Llewellyn Auvaa, 38, Paul Tuese Ama, 42, and Joleen Warner, 29, are charged with murder.

Alleged motive: Robbery

Method: Shooting

This undated photo taken from the Facebook page #FindMackenzieLueck shows Mackenzie Lueck, 23. Police announced Friday, July 5, 2019, that they have recovered the body of slain University of Utah student.
Mackenzie Lueck
Associated Press

44. SALT LAKE CITY, June 20 — The body of Mackenzie Lueck, 23, a University of Utah student, was found in Logan Canyon 11 days after she went missing. Police found burned human tissue identified as Lueck’s, as well as other charred evidence, in the backyard of Ayoola Adisa Ajayi’s house, 547 N. 1000 West. After Lueck got off a flight early in the morning on June 17, police said she took a Lyft to a park in North Salt Lake, where she met Ajayi, 31. The two had been communicating beforehand, police said. Ajayi is charged with aggravated murder.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Assault

Cesar Madrigal-Rios
Memorial Mortuaries and Cemeteries

45. MILLCREEK, June 21 — Cesar Madrigal-Rios, 17, and his brother, Emilio Madrigal-Rios, 19, got into an argument over a gun belonging to the younger brother at a trailhead at 4700 E. Millcreek Canyon. Emilio told police his brother had demanded he give him his gun back when they began fighting over it. During the struggle, the gun went off and Cesar was shot in the head. Madrigal-Rios pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison.

Motive: Fight

Method: Shooting

Joseph “Joey” Allen
Larkin Mortuary

46. SALT LAKE CITY, July 3 — Joseph “Joey” Allen, 40, was working at Maverik, 1270 S. Main, while another man was in the store visiting him. Salt Lake police said four men were hanging out on the store property and Allen and his friend went outside to ask them to leave and a fight broke out. Tukka Gonne, 21, was seen on surveillance video running up with a large knife in his hand. Allen and his friend were both stabbed. Allen was pronounced dead at the scene. The other man survived multiple stab wounds. Gonne is charged with murder.

Alleged motive: Fight

Method: Stabbing

Jose Martinez
Jose Martinez
West Jordan Police Department

47. WEST JORDAN, July 5 — Jose Martinez, 34, of California, who police said was a wanted fugitive, was killed when officers shot him during an altercation in his relative’s condo near 6800 South and 3800 West. Martinez barricaded himself in the condo and insinuated he had a weapon, police said, before officers went into the condo and the altercation occurred. Police have not said whether Martinez actually had a weapon or what exactly happened in the home. The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has not yet ruled whether the shooting was justified.

Alleged motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

Nakylee Marvin
Walker Funeral Home

48. PAYSON, July 5 — Nakylee Marvin, 24, was camping at the Maple Bench Campground with Ethan Timoko, 27, another man, and two young girls. Timoko, who was Marvin’s ex-boyfriend and the father of her daughter, had been arguing with her during the trip. After some time, Timoko used a handgun to shoot himself in the head while sitting in a vehicle. The round from the gunshot left the vehicle and struck Marvin, who was outside the vehicle, in the neck. The gunshot appeared to immediately kill Timoko, while Marvin was critically injured and died at the scene.

Motive: Possibly accidental, domestic

Method: Shooting

Deyvion Johnson
Myers Mortuary

49. WEST VALLEY CITY, July 13 — Police were called to an apartment at 4002 S. 1535 West after 5-month-old Deyvion Johnson was found not breathing. Shawn Malik Johnson, 23, told police he had taken his son for a walk and the child became unresponsive upon their return. At a hospital it was discovered the boy had multiple severe head injuries. Johnson allegedly told police he had thrown a metal bottle at the baby’s head, punched him in the back of the head, and dropped the baby about 15 feet from a swingset onto concrete curbing. Johnson is charged with murder.

Motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Child abuse

Neko Jardine
Family photo

50. WEST VALLEY CITY, July 14 — Just after midnight, officers were called to the home at 5625 W. 4360 South and found shell casings and blood outside the house. Neko Jardine, 19, was at a party with friends when two vehicles pulled up and started a confrontation. Family members say Jardine tried to play peacekeeper and stop his cousins from getting into an altercation when between 10 and 12 shots were fired before the vehicles drove away. Jardine was killed and one of his friends was also shot. Jose Joel Nunez Perez, 18, Arnol Francisco Perez-Zelaya, 21, and Luis Sebastian-Enciso, 19, were arrested for investigation of murder. Formal charges have not been filed in that case.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

Michael Anthony Brand
Michael Anthony Brand
Salt Lake County Jail

51. SALT LAKE CITY, July 15 — Police were called to the Sunrise Metro Apartment complex, 580 S. 500 West, for a report of a man experiencing a mental health crisis. Michael Anthony Brand, 43, who was the subject of the call and lived in the apartment, presented a weapon when officers arrived, police said. One of the responding officers fired his gun in response. Brand was hit and killed, while one of the other officers was injured by friendly fire. Brand’s weapon was later determined to be a paintball gun. The district attorney’s office is reviewing the shooting.

Alleged motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

Angela Montoya
Dignity Memorial

52. WEST VALLEY CITY, July 20 — Angela Montoya, 34, of West Valley City, another woman, and a 15-year-old boy were all shot while in a car with Jayson Rue Chase, 38. Officers responded after the 15-year-old went into Holiday Oil, 3086 S. 2700 West. Montoya died in the parking lot of the gas station. After Chase fled, police say he called 911 and said he was being chased by a person with a gun. When officers found him, Chase made “incriminating statements.” Chase, who is accused of opening fire from the back seat after getting angry, is charged with aggravated murder.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

Kathryn Blaire Leavitt
Virgin Valley and Moapa Valley Mortuaries

53. SALT LAKE CITY, July 27 — Police were called on a report of a burglary in progress at Apartments on the Green, 1211 N. Redwood. Kathryn Blaire Leavitt, 27, was found dead in an apartment. Police do not know whether the shooting was related to a burglary or if it was targeted. No arrests have been made.

Motive: Possible burglary

Method: Shooting

Donald Lee Joseph
Aaron’s Mortuary and Cremation

54. OGDEN, July 31 — Police say Donald Lee Joseph, 37, used a hammer to break into Tanner Clinic, 3443 W. 5600 South. A woman who was cleaning after hours heard what was happening, barricaded herself inside a room and called 911. When officers entered, they tried to bring Joseph into custody using nonlethal methods. But when he advanced on them with a knife, an officer fired at him several times. His obituary said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after being injured while serving in the Army. The shooting was ruled to be justified by the Weber County Attorney’s Office.

Motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

Riche Antonio Santiago
Riche Antonio Santiago
Salt Lake County Jail

55. SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 5 — Riche Antonio Santiago, 21, of Salt Lake City, was killed during a confrontation with two officers outside the Park Place Apartments, 350 E. 700 South. Officers were initially called to the complex to investigate a 911 hang-up. Police said Santiago pulled out a gun and shot at officers as soon as they arrived. Officers fired back, killing him.

Alleged motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

Taylor Kauvaka
Serenity Funeral Home

56. MILLCREEK, Aug. 14 — Taylor Kauvaka, 31, of Salt Lake City, was shot in the street near 3990 S. 700 West, in an altercation. Police said Edgar Omar Esquivel, 19, had “threatened to rape, drown and kill” a woman’s baby on Facebook. She told another man what happened and, after another argument, he and Esquivel agreed to meet and fight. The man brought his brother-in-law, Kauvaka, with him to fight. That’s when Alekzander Ethan May, 18, of Midvale, allegedly pulled a gun out of a cardboard box and pointed it. Kauvaka stepped in front of the intended victim and slapped the gun when he was shot, police said. May and Esquivel are both charged with murder.

Alleged motive: Fight

Method: Shooting

Skyler Armstrong
Spilsbury Mortuary

57. ST. GEORGE, Aug. 14 — Skyler Armstrong, 18, of St. George, was shot in a home at 252 N. 2700 East. Four witnesses told police Armstrong was lying on the floor with friends, and they were all looking at their phones when the shooting happened without warning. But a fifth person told investigators Nicanor Mendoza, 32, was in the room with them and they were smoking meth and “talking about guns.” According to the witness, Mendoza took a handgun out of his pocket, removed the bullets and then put one bullet back in, pointed it at a juvenile, and then pointed it at Armstrong before firing and shooting him in the head. Mendoza is charged with murder.

Alleged motive: Unknown, drugs

Method: Shooting

Alicia Baxter
Gunmemorial.org

58. SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 15 — Alicia Baxter, 33, was shot and killed near the corner of 800 W. North Temple. Police said Timothy Vaughn, 27, whose address is listed as a homeless shelter, was selling soda to “get back to Park City” when he began arguing with Baxter. A witness saw Vaughn pull a gun out of his waistband and shoot her in the head, police said. Vaughn is charged with murder.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

Jovany Mercado-Bedolla
Jovany Mercado-Bedolla
Weber County Sheriff’s Office

59. OGDEN, Aug. 16 — Police were called to the 3100 block of Gramercy Avenue by someone who said they were having a party in their yard when a man holding a knife approached several guests in the driveway. While police were en route, dispatchers were informed Jovany Mercado-Bedolla, 26, of Ogden, had moved to a carport and was looking inside vehicles. When officers arrived, Mercado-Bedolla, holding a knife, advanced on officers, ignoring their commands to drop the weapon, according to police. Four officers fired their weapons. The Weber County Attorney’s Office has not yet determined whether the shooting was legally justified.

Alleged motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

Michael Chad Breinholt
Dignity Memorial

60. WEST VALLEY CITY, Aug. 23 — Police were called to a business near 2900 S. Redwood where a women who Michael Chad Breinholt, 31, had been dating was working, and Breinholt started “causing problems,” according to police. Officers arrested him and took him to a small room in the basement of West Valley City Hall, 3600 Constitution Blvd., where people are typically processed for DUI. There, police said Breinholt maneuvered his shoe off and claimed to have a gun in it. In a struggle with officers, Breinholt grabbed hold of an officer’s holstered gun, according to body camera video. One officer then fired his gun at Breinholt, killing him. Prosecutors are investigating.

Alleged motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

Bobby Ray Duckworth
Springer Turner Funeral Home

61. WELLINGTON, Carbon County, Sept. 10 — Bobby Ray Duckworth, 26, of Wellington, was shot and killed by reserve Wellington officer Garrett Safely, who had responded to the area of 900 E. Railroad Ave. on a report of a suicidal individual. Duckworth briskly advanced toward the officer, holding two knives, according to body camera footage. After Duckworth ignored commands to put down the knives, the officer fired at least six shots. The Carbon County Attorney’s Office determined the shooting was justified.

Motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

Reo Guy Watts
Brown Family Memorial

62. UTAH STATE PRISON, Sept. 21 — Prison officials responded to an emergency call in a cell in the Oquirrh block and found Reo Guy Watts, 38, of Salem, dead in his bed. The call was initiated by an emergency button being pressed from the cell. Watts’ cellmate, James Afuakimoana Tamoua, 24, of Salt Lake City, was at the door of the cell when officials arrived, and stated, “I think I killed him,” according to charging documents, and later told police he strangled Watts.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Strangulation

Lazaro Nieves-Morales
Legacy Funerals and Cremations

63. SPRINGVILLE, Sept. 22 — After a day of consuming alcohol and cocaine, police said Lazaro Nieves-Morales, 29, of Springville, and Victor Hugo Contreras-Nathanson, 26, of Payson, drove to a train overpass in Springville to vandalize a concrete pillar. While Nieves-Morales was tagging the pillar, he was shot at least four times. When questioned by police, Contreras-Nathanson initially claimed he blacked out and didn’t remember what happened, but later “acknowledged it doesn’t look good and that it was possible he was the one who shot (Nieves-Morales),” police said. He is charged with murder.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

64. SOUTH JORDAN, Oct. 7 — Emergency crews were called to an apartment on a report of an infant, Adrian Keith Barrows, 6 weeks old, who was “unresponsive and having difficulty breathing.” After a CT scan revealed a brain bleed, the boy was transported to Primary Children’s Hospital where a doctor determined the infant had “sustained abnormal injuries for a child that age, and injuries which couldn’t be caused by the infant doing something himself.” Detectives seized the cellphones of both parents to examine their call, text and social media histories. They were waiting for the cellphones to be examined before presenting their case to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office to be reviewed for potential charges.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Abuse

Todd Stratton
Legacy.com

65. APPLE VALLEY, Washington County, Oct. 8 — After receiving several suspicious calls, deputies responded to a residence on the Plataclay Mine, on Coyote Road in rural Apple Valley, where they found the body of Todd Stratton, 50, the owner of the property. Jason Howard Clinger, 51, told police he shot Stratton after an altercation, sheriff’s officials said. Clinger claimed Stratton would show up at his house every few months and argue with him about maintaining the property. Clinger allegedly told police he didn’t remember retrieving a shotgun and was “surprised” when it went off, and that he did not have justification for self-defense. Clinger is charged with murder.

Alleged motive: Fight

Method: Shooting

Zackary Aldridge Hall
Salt Lake County Jail

66. LAYTON, Oct. 9 — Police say Zackary Aldridge Hall, 28, of Clearfield, was leaving Layton Hills Mall when members of the U.S. Marshals’ Violent Fugitive Strike Team attempted to take him into custody. Hall began ramming his vehicle into police vehicles. Agent Nathan Young fired into the vehicle, striking Hall, who later died at a hospital. Hall was also armed when he got out of his car. Young’s use of deadly force was determined to be justified by the Davis County Attorney’s Office.

Motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

Treyvon Stephens
Treyvon Stephens
GoFundMe

67. WEST VALLEY CITY, Oct. 24 — At the Redwood Apartments, 4000 S. Redwood, witnesses say Treyvon Stephens, 19, was in one of the units when Beni Vai Hautau, 19, came to the door. The two men began arguing and both were told to leave. One witness told detectives the dispute was over drugs. A short time later, Stephens returned to the apartment, pounded on the door, and collapsed when he was let inside. He showed the others in the apartment where he had been stabbed in the chest. “Ben stabbed me,” Stephens was able to tell the first responding officers before succumbing to his injuries, police say. Hautau is charged with murder.

Alleged motive: Drugs, fight

Method: Stabbing

68. FARMINGTON, Oct. 26 — Police say Jeffrey Antonio Langford, 24, of North Salt Lake, shot his mother, Graciela Laura Holker, 45, and posted live videos of her after the shooting on social media. Langford allegedly “made several statements in the video that the victim shot herself in the head but was still alive and that he was going to have to finish it. The victim could also be heard in the video still breathing,” police said. When asked why he didn’t call 911, officers said Langford claimed he was scared. Langford is charged with murder.

Motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Shooting

69, 70. ROOSEVELT, Nov. 1 — Police responded to a report of shots fired at a Halloween party to find Jon Reed Jr., 22, of Roosevelt, dead of stab wounds and Tyrell Sowsonicut, 23, of Duchesne, shot to death. Investigators said they believed Reed went to the house and shot Sowsonicut before other partygoers stepped in. Reed was then stabbed. Both men were tribal members. No arrests have been made in the case.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting, stabbing

Terence Nielsen
Terence Nielsen
GoFundMe

71. WEST JORDAN, Nov. 10 — Terence Nielsen, 27, of Alabama, was shot and killed by Anthony Dawson, 29, who then fatally shot himself in a family’s garage near 7000 S. Callie Dr. Nielsen had been living in the garage after the family that owned it took him in. He had recently lost his job and was living out of his car when they met. Police said Dawson was a friend of Nielsen and had come over to visit. What sparked the deadly confrontation is unknown.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

72. CEDAR CITY, Nov. 11 — Police received a call from a woman saying her husband, James Aubrey Sr., 56, of Cedar City, was making threats toward her and her adult son. Four officers arrived at the woman’s home in the 100 West block of Sunset Drive, and after talking to the woman outside the house, officers entered and yelled for Aubrey to come forward with his hands visible. Aubrey allegedly approached while pointing a handgun in their direction. One officer fired three rounds, hitting Aubrey, who died at the scene. The Iron County Sheriff’s Office determined the shooting was justified.

Motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

Debra Ann Andrews
Debra Ann Andrews
Allen Mortuaries

73. NORTH LOGAN, Cache County, Nov. 23 — Officers were dispatched to the North Pointe Apartments, 1580 N. 200 East, where they found Debra Ann Andrews, 67, dead. Police said she had been stabbed in the back by her son, Shawn Ryan Andrews, 28, of Pocatello. After the stabbing, Andrews ran from the apartment to a nearby Walmart and began discarding items, including the knife, police said. A neighbor told investigators she had heard “a commotion and people fighting” and then “a thump,” followed by someone yelling “Call 911.” Andrews is charged with murder.

Motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Stabbing

Leticia Smith
GoFundMe

74. SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 26 — Leticia Smith, 56, of Salt Lake City, died as a result of a gunshot wound inside a unit at the Windsor Park Apartments, 1798 W. 700 North. A man was taken to a local hospital with critical injuries from being shot. Details about the incident have not been released. There have been no arrests.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

Terrance Jefferies Jr.
Gilmore Mortuary

75. SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 27 — Two people were shot in the Skyhouse Apartment Complex, 308 W. North Temple, just after 11 a.m. Police announced later that Terrance Jefferies Jr., 25, had died in that incident. Jefferies was inside his apartment with the other victim when a third person entered and shot them. No arrests have been made.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

Efrain Castro
Legacy.com

76. SOUTH JORDAN, Nov. 28 — Three men were shot Thanksgiving morning near South Jordan Parkway and the Mountain View Corridor. One of those men, Efrain Castro, 23, died as a result of his injuries 13 days later. The main suspect in that shooting, Joshua Perez-Garcia, 26, of Kearns, was found dead Dec. 2 in a field near 11000 South and 6200 West. His death is considered suspicious and he did have at least one gunshot wound that police believe he received at the Thanksgiving party, though detectives do not believe the injury would have caused his death. Investigators are awaiting toxicology results.

Motive: Unknown

Method: Shooting

77. WEST VALLEY CITY, Dec. 7 — The body of Jesus Vasquez, 31, was found in the passenger seat of his own pickup truck in the parking lot of a church meetinghouse at 2835 S. 2855 West. Police believe he was shot in the stomach and stabbed in the right thigh and forehead at another location and then driven to the lot. His girlfriend told police he may have left that night to buy drugs. No arrests have been made.

Motive: Possibly drugs

Method: Shooting, stabbing

78. HUNTINGTON, Emery County, Dec. 21 — Police say Mark Stoddard, 41, of Huntington, pointed a gun a Utah Highway Patrol trooper and an Emery County sheriff’s deputy before he was shot and killed by the officers. Stoddard had led police on a chase which ended after his tires were spiked on state Route 31 between Huntington and Maple Creek.

Alleged motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

Frederick Jeremy Atkin, 42, of Ogden, died on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, after he was shot by a South Ogden police officer following a police chase.
Frederick Jeremy Atkin
Chaedon Landon

79. SOUTH OGDEN, Dec. 27 — Frederick Jeremy Atkin, 42, of Ogden, died after being shot by a South Ogden police officer. Atkin led police on a chase that ended near 40th Street and Wall Avenue. Details about what prompted the officer to fire have not yet been released.

Alleged motive: Self-defense

Method: Shooting

80. WEST VALLEY CITY, Dec. 31 — Laney Vox, 4, was found dead in the basement of her home, 4502 W. Losee Drive (4355 South), after West Valley police say her mother went to a neighbor early in the morning and claimed she had killed her daughter. Nicole Lester, 29, was arrested for investigation of aggravated murder. Lester’s 6-year-old son was asleep upstairs at the time.

Motive: Unknown domestic

Method: Unknown