Utah men sent to prison for fatal shooting over a drug debt

Published April 29, 2014 8:08 pm

Courts • Waldron and French had pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the Nov. 19 shooting in Orem.
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Two men charged in a fatal shooting in Orem were sentenced to prison on Monday.

Mason Eric French and Travis Waldron, both 24, were sentenced to serve two to 17 years in prison for manslaughter and one to 15 years in prison on an obstructing justice charge.

Also, French received up to five years in prison for felony use of firearm while Waldron received a one- to 15-year prison term for a similar firearm charge.

A judge ordered the sentences for manslaughter and obstruction of justice to run concurrent to one another but ordered the firearm sentences to run consecutive to the other two charges.

Police believe French was the triggerman in the Nov. 19 shooting that killed 42-year-old Rupert E. Miley — a case that initially appeared to be a fatal car crash.

According to 4th District Court documents, Waldron told police that French "accidently discharged" the gun after they met up with Miley to talk about a drug dispute.

About 3 a.m., the three met in a grocery store parking lot near 800 N. 900 East in Orem to discuss the dispute. Waldron told police that he and French got into Miley's car and at one point he held the gun to Miley's head before passing the firearm to French in the backseat.

Soon after, a shot was fired, went through the driver's seat and struck Miley in the back. Waldron told police he jumped out of the car after the gun fired and fled.

When police arrived, they first believed Miley died from injuries suffered in a car crash — an accident scene which extended several blocks as Miley tried to drive himself to a hospital after the shooting.

French was found lying on the roadway near the car accident, according to court records. He gave several conflicting statements about why we was in the area, including that he was a pedestrian passing through, according to court records.

French was arrested at the scene and Waldron was taken into custody later that day.

Prosecutors charged French and Waldron with first-degree felony murder and other crimes, but in November the pair pleaded guilty to the lesser charges.


Twitter: @jm_miller



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