West Valley City Man Acquitted of Robbery, Murder & Kidnapping
Countless prisoners throughout Utah are sitting in jail cells for crimes they did not commit. Many were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many others were the victims of abusive practices from law enforcement or simply had poor criminal defense representation. For the past two years, Eddie Salazar faced an uncertain future. He and two others were arrested in 2015 for a series of violent crime charges in West Valley City, including robbery murder and kidnapping. But on March 8, a jury from the 3rd District Court acquitted Salazar of all charges in connection with the death of 63-year-old Steven Louis Valdez.
Having the right criminal defense attorney can make a huge a difference. In the case of Salazar, his lawyer Rudy Bautista was able to find inconsistencies with prosecution’s case on what happened the evening of the murder. Bautista was able to establish there was no physical evidence connecting Salazar to the crime scene. Arturo Frias-Gonzalez (46) and Bernadette Ramirez (48) were also charged with first-degree murder along with Salazar. While Ramirez’s case is still pending, Frias-Gonzalez pled guilty to second-degree felony counts of obstructing justice and witness tampering.
According to police reports, the three suspects shot Valdez in the leg and beat him in an upstairs bedroom. The trio were also accused of stealing several personal items, including a cell phone and watches. Ramirez says the incident began with an argument between her and the victim. However, Valdez’s niece and roommate had given a different account of the incident to police. She originally said the murder the result of a home invasion robbery by a group of men in masks. The niece later gave a different version of the story, claiming she saw the three suspects in the bedroom with Valdez. The witness then fled the scene with her baby.
The inconsistent statements made by the witness discredited the prosecution’s case. The witness alleged Valdez’s face had suffered horrific facial injuries and was seen holding a tire iron. However, Salazar’s criminal defense attorney pointed out the victim suffered only minor injuries which could not have been caused by a tire iron. Bautista also explained no tire iron was found nor was there any tangible evidence Salazar was at the scene. Salazar maintained he was home with his wife during the time of the crime. Salazar’s wife would collaborate the story.
How a Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
After spending 14 months in jail, Eddie Salazar’s nightmare is over. He is finally free to go home. But that comes as little consolation for other innocent prisoner still sitting in Utah jails. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, it is vital to seek representation from a Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney with a track record of protecting the rights of each client and looking after their best interests. The legal team at the Law Offices of David Paul White & Associates has successfully represented many people charged with violent crimes in Salt Lake City. To learn more, contact the law office today and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.