Murder victim's fiancÃ©e ordered to stand trial in obstructing justice
Less than a week after a man was charged in the gang-related killing of a Salt Lake City teen outside of a Maverik store, the murder victim's fiancee was ordered to stand trial for obstructing the investigation into the teen's death.
A judge Tuesday ordered Morgan Maree Janet Holst, 18, to stand trial in 3rd District Court on a charge of obstructing justice. If convicted, she could spend up to 15 years in state prison.
Holst was engaged to 19-year-old Sione Fakatoufifita, of West Valley City, when he was shot to death on April 13 in the parking lot of a Maverik convenience store at 1680 S. Redwood Road.
According to charging documents, Holst changed her story three times in talking to investigators about the events prior to her fiance's murder. She was one of two people charged with delaying the case, which went unsolved for months.
It wasn't until last week that prosecutors charged Vilisoni Tuino Angilau, 20, with murder and obstructing justice in Fakatoufifita's death.
Holst declined to undergo a preliminary hearing, at which prosecutors would be required to make their case before a judge and present evidence against her.
She will be arraigned in October, at which point she may plead either guilty or not guilty in the case.
Holst was arrested in April, shortly after Fakatoufifita's death, at Salt Lake City International Airport. She'd been on her way to California to "get control over her emotions and steer clear of the speculation and anger that was surrounding the death of her fiance," court documents state.
In interviews with police, Holst originally claimed Fakatoufifita was hanging out with his friends and she had driven to look for him.
Then, detectives said, she changed her story: Holst told them she and Fakatoufifita were driving around together when he got out of the car and left. Later, she said, he called her from the Maverik to tell her their wedding was off. She called her fiance's mom and drove with her to the convenience store to pick him up, only to discover it was a crime scene.
Holst later said that she and Fakatoufifita had been driving through Glendale to her grandparents' house when her fiance began making gang-sign gestures specifically, "R" for "Regulator," court documents state. She eventually gave him an ultimatum: Stop signing or get out of the car.
When he left, she said, she didn't know where he went.
In her final version of events, Holst said she and Fakatoufifita were at a Glendale park when they were attacked by some "Glendale boys," a reference to rival gang members, according to court documents.
Fakatoufifita fled the fight, but his attackers followed, she said.
No explanation for why she told different stories in her interviews with police was offered in charging documents.