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Salt Lake City woman gets probation for lying to cops in teen slaying

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(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Valerie Winston, center, talks about her son, 16-year-old Kenny Winston, who was found shot to death in an abandoned field in a Sugar House neighborhood in Salt Lake City, Utah, Wednesday August 29, 2012. Valerie was joined by family friend Christina Watson, left, and Kenny's uncle, Kevin Watson, at her Salt Lake City home Thursday August 30, 2012.

By Marissa Lang

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Jul 25 2013 04:22PM
Updated Dec 7, 2013 11:36PM

A 39-year-old woman was sentenced to six months probation Monday for her role in the mysterious shooting of Salt Lake City teenager Kenyatta Winston.

Jessica Reyos owned the car in which Winston was last seen alive. Inside, detectives found stains they thought to be blood. But when they asked Reyos to whom she had lent her car on the night Winston was killed, she feigned ignorance and gave them a fake name.

On Monday, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of providing false statements to law enforcement officers during their investigation into the slaying of 16-year-old Winston last year.

By entering into a plea deal with prosecutors, Reyos was spared what could have been as much as 15 years in the Utah State Prison for obstruction of justice. In this arrangement, she will serve no additional time behind bars — Reyos spent four days in jail following her August 2012 arrest.

Third District Judge Denise Lindberg also ordered Reyos to pay a $793 fine over the next 12 months.

She is the first of the five people facing charges in Winston’s death to be sentenced.

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.

Detectives testified at a February preliminary hearing that they never believed Jessica Reyos was involved in the shooting but appeared to be covering up for those who were.

When detectives asked Reyos who had been driving her car on the night Winston was killed, she told them she had lent her car to a person she knew only as "D."

After lengthy interviews, Reyos said "D" stood for Damien, detectives said.

"D" was eventually revealed to be David Montes, 21, who also was charged with murder. Investigators believe Montes witnessed Winston’s shooting, drove the getaway car and helped to dump the body.

Shelby Glenda Reed, the 20-year-old daughter of Reyos, also was charged with obstructing justice in the case and faces up to 15 years in prison.

According to prosecutors, Reed allegedly wiped down a motel room where Winston was last seen alive and tossed evidence.

The mother and daughter said they have spent the near year since Winston’s death living in fear of gang retaliation and have received threats and disturbing messages.

At a February hearing, Jessica Reyos brought a white envelope containing a written message: "Snitches," it said, "belong in ditches."

Reed is scheduled to be tried before a jury at the end of August.

Brittney Montano, 21, who is also charged in the case for allegedly helping Frank Reyos flee from police in her green Honda Accord, will appear before a judge in August.

Frank Reyos and Montes are scheduled for September preliminary hearings, at which prosecutors will lay out the evidence against them.

mlang@sltrib.com

Twitter: marissa_jae

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