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Utah shooting defendants sentenced: one to prison, the other to jail

First Published      Last Updated Mar 20 2017 10:45 pm

Courts » One is going to prison, the other to jail.

Two men who last summer shot up a Taylorsville home, then drove to the Millcreek area where they fired bullets into several cars, tried to carjack a vehicle, led officers on a high-speed chase and rammed a police cruiser, have been sentenced — one to prison and the other to jail time.

Joseph E. Villagrana, 20, of Murray, was sentenced earlier this month to three to 15 years at the Utah State Prison.

He had pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court to second-degree felony robbery, for the carjacking attempt, and four counts of third-degree felony discharge of a firearm.



Luiz Miguel Valadez, 24, was sentenced in January to a year in jail after pleading guilty to second-degree felony assault against a police officer, for ramming a police car, and four counts of third-degree felony discharge of a firearm. Last month, however, Valadez was sentenced to prison for up to five years by another judge for possession of a stolen firearm.

The rash of shooting crimes began at about 4:30 a.m. on July 15, when Villagrana and Valadez walked around a home near 4800 South and 3400 West, shooting at the building, police have said.

One bullet pierced a dresser and the headboard of a baby's crib before lodging in a wall, police have said. A 2-year-old girl asleep in the crib was not injured, but investigators say a bullet missed her by inches.

Neighbors told police they saw two men speed from the neighborhood in a white station wagon with a loud muffler.

After reaching the Millcreek area, the pair shot at a number of unoccupied cars and also tried to steal a car at gunpoint from a man — firing two shots at his car before speeding away in the station wagon, charges state.

Police on patrol near 1400 East and 3900 South spotted the station wagon after hearing shots fired in the area.

Valadez, who was driving, led officers on a chase through neighborhood streets at speeds of up to 100 mph, and the two men continued to try to avoid capture even after officers spiked their car's tires.

The chase ended near 800 South and 900 East at about 5:15 a.m., police said.

A Unified police officer performed a PIT maneuver, causing the car spin and stop, but the driver then drove at the police cruiser and rammed it, charges state. The officer, however, forced the car to the curb, and the two suspects were arrested.

Police recovered a .38-caliber handgun from the road near 3600 South and 900 East, where one of the men tossed it during the pursuit, police said. A second weapon — a .45-caliber handgun — was recovered later that morning after resident found it in a yard near 1000 East and 3510 South.

shunt@sltrib.com

 

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