Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
AP file photo Riqo Perea in 2007
Convicted Ogden murderer wants his sentence and conviction overturned

Courts » Riqo Perea’s attorney claims numerous errors occurred during 2010 Ogden trial.

First Published Feb 06 2013 01:08 pm • Last Updated Feb 07 2013 11:25 pm

An attorney for convicted murderer Riqo Perea argued in Utah Supreme Court Wednesday that the 25-year-old Ogden man should have his conviction and sentence overturned because of numerous errors during trial.

Perea’s attorney, Samuel Newton, brought several issues to the table during Wednesday’s arguments, including that a defense expert was not allowed to testify at trial and a video reenactment prepared for the defense was not shown to the jury.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

In March 2010, a jury convicted Perea of two counts of aggravated murder for killing Sabrina Prieto, 22, and Rosendo Nevarez, 29, after he fired into a post-wedding party crowd in Ogden in 2007.

Perea was also convicted of two counts of first-degree felony attempted murder for wounding two others during the gang-related drive-by shooting.

Second District Judge Ernie Jones handed down a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, rather than a less harsh prison term of 25 years to life.

Perea — who was 20 years old at the time — confessed to police that he was the one who leaned out of the front passenger-side window of an SUV and fired over the roof of the car into the wedding party, but during Perea’s 2010 trial, defense attorney Randy Richards argued that Perea was ordered by an older gang member to "take the rap" for the shooting, and that Perea confessed to protect his family.

Newton argued Wednesday that Jones erred by not allowing a defense expert to testify about why people falsely confess to a crime they did not commit.

But Assistant Attorney General Christopher Ballard argued that the expert was "unhelpful" and "unreliable" and that a jury didn’t need an expert to understand that a person could lie or falsely confess to protect their family.

Newton also argued that Jones ruled prior to the trial that a computer-animated reenactment prepared for the defense could be used at trial, but in the middle of the trial Weber County prosecutors raised an issue with the reenactment and Jones changed his mind.

This was unfair, Newton argued, because prosecutors were able to show a reenactment of their version of events, but the defense ­was not allowed to show a reenactment of their theory of the case.


story continues below
story continues below

At trial, Richards claimed "two, three or maybe four guns were used" during the attack, and none of them was fired by his client.

Ballard argued that Perea’s attorneys were confused, and that Jones never ruled about the reenactment specifically before trial. He said the defense video was not shown to the jury because of issues with the reenactment, including questions about who created it and because it contained factual errors such as an incorrect bullet trajectory and use of the wrong type of vehicle.

But several of Supreme Court justices wondered why the defense computer reenactment could not have be shown, followed by prosecutors arguing those issues during cross-examination.

"I have to admit, I am mystified by your argument," Justice Christine Durham told Ballard.

Newton also argued that Utah’s life without parole statute is unconstitutional because it gives no guidance to judges regarding sentencing.

The Supreme Court took the matter under advisement Wednesday. A decision will likely be months away.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.