West Jordan • They were there for answers.
Nearly 50 family members, who for almost a year have wondered why their loved ones were shot in cold blood, packed the rows of a 3rd District courtroom Wednesday as three eyewitnesses to a Midvale triple homicide took the stand.
But one after another, the witnesses denied knowing why Omar Jarman, Danielle Lucero and Shontay Young were gunned down one by one last February.
It was the first day of a preliminary hearing against David Fresques, 26, who faces three counts of aggravated murder and one count of attempted aggravated murder in connection with the slayings.
On Wednesday, prosecutors began to present evidence they hope will compel Judge Mark Kouris to order Fresques to stand trial.
According to testimony, Fresques was one of four people to enter the 8286 S. Adams St. (450 West) home in the early hours of Feb. 12, 2013, as seven people slumbered inside.
The night before the shooting, Rayna Curtis, 32, and her then-boyfriend Davis Romney Fotu encountered Fresques at a motel.
The room was packed to the gills with people Fotu said he didn’t recognize. Everyone was on drugs.
Fotu, 33, worried Curtis suspected trouble when she handed him a gun that she had received from a friend earlier that day. He pocketed it.
Jarman was also in that room, Curtis and Fotu said. He was quiet and hunched over, possibly withdrawing from heroin.
The atmosphere intensified when Fresques accused Jarman of having the business card of a detective, Fotu said. He got a bad feeling.
Fotu was used to being his girlfriend’s muscle to discourage would-be troublemakers from ripping Curtis off while she peddled drugs. But, Fotu said, he didn’t want to be her muscle “like that.”
“I didn’t want no part of it,” he said. “I put the gun down on the bed to tell them something — that I don’t know who Omar is and I don’t want no part of this.”
Fresques, he said, picked up the gun. Moments later, Fotu, Curtis, Jarman and Fresques left together in Fotu’s car. After several stops, they ended up at the home of a mutual acquaintance: Jose Fernando Garcia.
Curtis, who appeared Wednesday in a dark blue jail jumpsuit with her long hair braided down her left shoulder, said she knew Garcia’s home was a destination for drug-users to whom she hoped she could sell her methamphetamine.
Fresques went in first, she said. She wasn’t sure why Jarman had come along. She guessed he was hoping he could find drugs there.
When they got inside, she noticed a woman sleeping on a recliner in the middle of a dark living room. The house was still, quiet.
The woman, later identified as Young, had a blanket draped over her from head to toe, Curtis said. She stirred for a moment and then went back to sleep.
Fresques, who had been to the home to visit Garcia just a week before, held the metallic handgun at his side, witnesses said.
When he asked Fotu to “check downstairs,” Fotu testified, he woke a woman later identified as Garcia’s live-in girlfriend. She raced upstairs ahead of him to demand to know what was happening.
By the time Fotu reached the landing, Curtis and Fotu said, Fresques had begun shooting.
Curtis said she remembers it vividly: The defendant raised the gun and shot Jarman, who was seated beside her on a turquoise chair. He shot Young once, then again when the woman began to scream and flail around. Twice, he shot in the direction of Fotu and Garcia, who had begun to scuffle in the area of the kitchen.
“I feel bad, feel like it was all my fault. I should have called 911, but I was just thinking about my own skin, about getting out of there,” Curtis said, crying. “[After the shooting], it was killing me. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t get high enough to get away from it.”
It wasn’t clear in testimony Wednesday when or how Lucero, who was asleep in an upstairs bedroom, was shot.
Fotu didn’t see anyone get shot, he testified. He only heard the sound of gunfire.
Fotu pleaded guilty in October to second-degree felony obstructing justice in the Midvale homicide case for ultimately loaning his truck to Fresques, which allowed him to evade capture until he crashed Fotu’s truck into a car parked near 3700 South and 300 East, though he said he never met Fresques before that night. He will be sentenced later this month.
Fotu agreed to testify as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Curtis, who is serving a year in jail on an unrelated drug charge, was not charged in this case.
The preliminary hearing is expected to last through Friday morning.