Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Jury finds man guilty in 2007 ‘revenge’ shooting case
Courts » Prater could face life in prison without parole.
First Published Feb 28 2013 03:18 pm • Last Updated Feb 28 2013 11:29 pm

Only one man could have pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Vincent Samora.

But for three days, the prosecution and defense each blamed different men in the 2007 slaying that left Samora dead in the front seat of a white car parked in the driveway of his mother’s Glendale home.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

On Thursday, a jury decided Anthony James Prater, 28, was guilty of the crime.

The jury took seven hours to deliberate, finding Prater guilty of first-degree counts of murder and obstruction of justice, as well as five counts of third-degree felony discharge of a weapon from a vehicle. He will be sentenced May 6.

Typically, a guilty verdict on these charges would mean prison for life without parole or for 20 years to life.

According to prosecutors, Prater shot 35-year-old Samora in a drive-by on Nov. 27, 2007.

In closing arguments Thursday, prosecutors said the shooting was an act of revenge meant to silence the man who testified against Prater’s "homeboy" in a 2005 shooting case. They called Prater unapologetic and calculated, and said that after he killed Samora, he tried to get rid of evidence and intimidate potential witnesses with threats and violence.

"After he shoots Vincent Samora eight times, what does Anthony Prater say? Oops? Uh-oh? No. He says, ‘I know I got him,’ " said Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Vincent Meister. "He told all these witnesses, ‘You’re dead if you testify.’ That fear is very real; it hasn’t gone away."

But defense attorneys insisted Prater was framed.

"The reason you should find Mr. Prater not guilty is very simple: Ryan Sheppard shot and killed Victor Samora," said defense attorney Edward Brass. "Where’s the physical evidence tying this shooting to Mr. Prater? Where is it? There isn’t any."


story continues below
story continues below

Sheppard, 31, admitted to driving the car out of which Prater shot Samora. He’s been charged with first-degree counts of murder and obstruction of justice, as well as third-degree felony discharge of a weapon from a vehicle. But he agreed to testify in this case in order to secure a plea deal.

Defense attorneys pointed to the plea agreement as a motive for Sheppard to lie.

"[Sheppard] is told, the first person who comes in and tells us what we need to hear is going to get the best deal," Brass said. "So, what does he do? He comes in and says, ‘Yeah, my car was there. But I was the driver. I didn’t shoot anybody,’ and he gets himself a deal."

Prosecutors said deal or no, Sheppard’s testimony should demonstrate just the opposite.

"When the defense talks about the wonderful deal these witnesses got, they fail to mention that these witnesses get to live with the label of ‘snitch’ for the rest of their lives," Meister said. "Their risk dramatically increased the second they walked into this courtroom."

Prosecutors closed by saying the jury must rule based on evidence, and the defense had not outlined enough evidence against Sheppard to exonerate Prater.

Prater, who wore a deep blue suit and glasses, remained expressionless as both sides made their closing remarks.

mlang@sltrib.com

Twitter: marissa_jae



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.