A Navajo woman charged with the shooting death of a popular Monument Valley tour guide and photographer committed suicide Monday.
Michelle Davida Harvey, 29, faced a second-degree felony murder charge for allegedly killing Carlos Peney Mose, 35, during an altercation in Halchita, Utah, in January. Harvey had pleaded not guilty to the charge.
"We were preparing to go to trial on May 6 and continue to assert her innocence," said Benji McMurray, an assistant federal public defender. "All of us at the Federal Public Defender’s Office are profoundly saddened by this tragedy, and we are doing everything we can to assist Ms. Harvey’s family during this difficult time."
Harvey was found dead around 9:45 p.m. at a home in Millcreek, according to Unified Police spokesman Lt. Justin Hoyal.
According to federal prosecutors, the altercation began after Mose helped Harvey’s boyfriend dump all of her clothes outside her home and then set them on fire. Harvey grabbed a revolver from inside the home and allegedly began shooting at Mose, striking and killing him. She then went back inside the home, where two men wrestled the gun away from her.
McMurray told a judge on July 30 during an initial appearance hearing that Harvey was hospitalized that same day because of significant injuries to her face, neck and torso, and the full story of what actually transpired was unknown.
Prosecutors said the injuries may have happened during the struggle over the gun or been inflicted by Harvey’s boyfriend.
After initially detaining Harvey, Magistrate Judge Evelyn J. Furse agreed in September to release her to a halfway house. The judge also allowed Harvey to leave the halfway house briefly to spend time with family at her brother’s house during Thanksgiving and Christmas. But Furse denied Harvey’s request that she be allowed to travel to the reservation in December to see her family.
A court document notes that the separation from her two children was causing Harvey "a great deal of anxiety and depression" and that it was a financial hardship for her mother to bring the children to the Salt Lake Valley to visit.
On Jan. 24, Furse agreed to let Harvey live with her brother in Millcreek. Harvey had recently ended a seasonal job and was looking for more permanent work, McMurray said.
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