Suspect in Utah triple homicide will be sentenced in February
West Jordan • The families were ready to speak.
More than 12 people packed the rows of a West Jordan courtroom Monday in anticipation of seeing the man accused of obstructing justice in a Midvale triple homicide be sentenced for his crimes.
They were the ones left behind to pick up the pieces of shattered families and shattered lives, to look for answers in an unthinkable act.
On Monday, these families were ready to address the court and the man accused of standing by as accused triggerman David Fresques shot and killed the three victims in what prosecutors have characterized as a deliberate and cold-blooded attack.
But they never got the chance.
Davis Romney Fotu, 33, pleaded guilty in October to second-degree felony obstructing justice in the Midvale homicide case. He was scheduled to be sentenced Monday, but the date was pushed back to February so it would follow a preliminary hearing for Fresques.
Fotu, who went inside the home with Fresques just before the shooting happened, is expected to testify against Fresques at the preliminary hearing Feb. 5. At that hearing, prosecutors will present evidence to support their theory that Fresques went room-to-room at a home at 8286 S. Adams St. (450 West) killing the people inside.
Fresques, 26, faces three counts of aggravated murder and one count of attempted aggravated murder in connection with the slaying.
Fotu's cooperation was part of a deal he struck with prosecutors.
According to Fotu's attorney, Rudy Bautista, the sentencing hearing is unlikely to change how much time his client spends behind bars. Prosecutors promised several years probation for the obstruction of justice charge in lieu of any time behind bars. The charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in the Utah State Prison.
Fotu, who was charged in February with third-degree felony counts of aggravated assault and retaliation against a witness, victim or informant for allegedly threatening to shoot a hotel clerk in a separate case, will likely be sentenced to three years in jail in for those crimes, Bautista said. He would complete his jail sentence before beginning his probation term.
"Mr. Fotu has always been cooperative in this matter," Bautista told a crowd of reporters and television crews after Monday's hearing. "He has knowledge that could be valuable to the state of Utah in prosecuting this other case."
It was a frustrating reality for several of the victims' family members, who said on Monday that Fotu deserves a more severe punishment for his involvement in the February shooting than what he'll probably get.
"He had every opportunity to do the right thing and stop this before it happened," said Lisa Silva, a relative who is raising Danielle Lucero's young daughters. "But instead, he ran like a coward. When two people go into a home and only one of them intends to commit a robbery, they're both charged. Why is it different with murder?"
According to charging documents, Fotu gave Fresques his truck after the shooting and told him to take it somewhere safe.
Someone called police shortly thereafter and reported the truck had been stolen. Fresques was captured the next day, court documents state, when he crashed Fotu's truck into a parked car near 3700 South and 300 East.
Fotu was arrested in March during an unrelated probation check after a weeks-long manhunt.
"I wasn't aware that probation was going to be a part of this deal," said Cathy Candelaria, the sister of victim Omar Jarman. "I hate that [Fotu] was given a deal, a choice. Our loved ones were left with no choice when they were shot."
More than anything, relatives said, they want closure and the ability to move past that day in February.
"Patience is a virtue at this point," said Sean Young, the brother of victim Shontay Young. "We just need to allow justice to do its part."
Fotu's sentencing will be one step further along in that process. He is scheduled to appear again before 3rd District Court Judge Terry Christiansen on Feb. 21 at 8:30 a.m.
See more about comments here.