When the door knocks or the phone rings, the children are too afraid to answer.
They run and hide. The 2-year-old cries.
Sometimes they spend the night in a motel room. The 4-year-old asks her mother and grandmother why.
“It’s not safe,” said Jessica Reyos, the 38-year-old grandmother. “Every day we’re on guard.”
Reyos and her daughter, 19-year-old Shelby Glenda Reed, said gang members have followed them in cars, targeted them with threats and sent menacing messages ever since the two women were charged with obstructing justice in connection with the mysterious August death of Salt Lake City teenager Kenyatta Winston.
A 3rd District judge ruled Wednesday that Reed and Reyos should stand trial on the second-degree felony charges. If convicted, Reyos and Reed could each spend up to 15 years in state prison.
It was the second preliminary hearing in the case, in which six people were arrested.
Winston’s body was found on Aug. 29 by construction workers in a vacant Sugar House lot. It appeared the 16-year-old had been shot to death and his body dumped.
The accused triggerman is Frank Reyos, 31, brother of Jessica Reyos. He is charged with aggravated murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, first- and second-degree felonies for which he could spend up to life in prison.
During Wednesday’s hearing, homicide detectives who interviewed the two women shortly after Winston’s murder said they did not believe either were involved in the shooting.
But prosecutors said both helped cover the tracks of those who were.
Reyos was initially called in as a witness because her 2010 Dodge Nitro was identified as the car in which Winston was last seen alive. Police later found what was “presumptively blood spatter” inside, according to charging documents.
But when detectives asked Reyos who had been driving her car, she told them she had lent her car to a person she knew only as “D,” police testified Wednesday.
“We believed she knew who she loaned the vehicle to,” homicide detective Jim Spangenberg said. “We believed that this individual was over her house frequently.”
After lengthy interviews, Reyos said “D” stood for Damien, detectives said.
“D” was eventually revealed to be David Montes, 21, who was also charged with murder. Investigators believe Montes witnessed Winston’s shooting, drove the getaway car and helped to dump the body.
Defense attorney Douglas Gubler said Reyos was not properly informed of her rights during these interviews and did not know anything about the murder at the time.
Reed is accused of wiping down a motel room where Winston was last seen alive and tossing evidence, detectives testified.
“During our interviews, she admitted to finding a bullet under the bed,” homicide detective Chris Kotnodimos said. “These items were wrapped in a blanket and removed. She said she didn’t know why at first.”
After the hearing, Reed said she wouldn’t have knowingly done anything to harm Winston. He was a long-time friend, the two played together as children, she said.
Every day since his death, she said, she’s lived in fear.
Reyos stood by her daughter. In her hand, a folded white envelope contained a hand-written note claiming someone was out to get the two women.
“Snitches,” it said, “belong in ditches.”
Reyos and Reed will be arraigned next month.
Brittney Montano, 21, who is also charged in the case for allegedly helping Frank Reyos flee from police in her green Honda Accord, will also be arraigned in March.