At least 64 people were killed in homicides in Utah this year. Here are their stories.

Utah’s homicide rate stayed about the same in 2017 — but more deaths were linked to domestic and gang violence

Editor's note: Information in this article is based on The Salt Lake Tribune's unofficial count of reports from police and prosecutors, and only reflects homicides known to The Tribune at the time of publication. The Tribune will update its database with new information as it becomes available, but the text of this article won't reflect those additions.

At least 64 people were killed in homicides in Utah during 2017. The number grew by one from 2015, according to unofficial lists compiled by The Salt Lake Tribune. Although the number of deaths stayed consistent, the percentage caused by domestic violence grew to 43 percent, about 10 percent higher than last year.

The Tribune’s count does not include death caused by impaired drivers, or homicides — including officer-involved deaths — prosecutors have ruled justified.

This year’s homicide total includes 39 male victims, and 25 female victims.

2017 Homicides

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While more men and boys were killed than women and girls, females comprised the majority of the victims of domestic violence-related homicides, which made up about 44 percent of all homicides this year.

There was also a notable increase in the number of gang-related homicides, increasing from three in 2016 to eight in 2017. Authorities believe the increase is in line with more aggressive gang recruitment of younger members.

Eleven children were killed at the hands of others this year, ranging in age from 2 weeks to 17 years old. All but one of those victims — 16-year-old Jchandra Brown — died in either domestic violence or gang-related situations.

Guns were used in at least 38 Utah homicides — about 59 percent — this year, far outpacing other weapons and methods of killing. Stabbings and blunt force trauma tied for No. 2, accounting for six deaths.

The victims

Micheal Green, 36 • Jan. 8 — A man fleeing from police in a stolen SUV plowed into Green’s car at more than 100 mph in South Salt Lake. Green was ejected from his car and died. Kenneth Ross Gray, 23, was charged with murder.

Louann Anderton, 48 • Jan. 13 — Shot by her estranged husband, 47-year-old Nolan Lee Anderton, shortly before he killed himself in a parking lot in West Valley City.

Ernest Pepe Martinez, 32 • Jan. 22 — Shot when Thomas “T.J.” Lovato allegedly fired multiple rounds into a car full of people at an Ogden convenience store. Lovato was charged with murder and attempted murder.

Gregory Vandemerwe, 46, and Elaine Manning, 67Jan. 24 — Shot by Michael Gregory Vandemerwe — who is Gregory Vandemerwe’s son and Manning’s grandson — at their West Valley City home. Gregory Vandemerwe died that night, and Manning died at a hospital days later. The defendant also stabbed his grandfather, who survived. Michael Vandemerwe is charged with two counts of aggravated murder and one count of aggravated attempted murder, and could face the death penalty.

(Steve Griffin | Tribune File Photo) Elaine Manning

Bryan Brooks, 19 • Jan. 29 Shot by a potential customer during a drug deal that turned into a botched robbery at Chapel Street Park in Layton. Boston Cole Osborn Crookston, 19, and Isaac Cain Lee Valdez, 18, each were charged with murder.

Tristen Mogadam, 18 • Feb. 16 — Shot in the back by a rival gang member during a drug deal set-up. Isaac Nacdaniel Patton, 17, came to Mogadam’s Magna home under the guise of buying marijuana and allegedly killed Mogadam instead. Patton was charged as an adult with murder.

Melvin Dyer, 51 • Feb. 17 — Shot by Brody Richard Olson, 37, who was attempting to steal drugs from a Salt Lake City apartment. Olson pleaded guilty to murder, and his accomplice, Tonita Ronette Holland, 39, pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Both were sentenced to prison.

Gustavo Ramirez, 24 • March 13 — Killed during a gang-related robbery at a Provo home. Four people were charged in his death, included alleged shooter Jesse William Gourdin, 21.

Chad Conrad, 42 • March 25 — Shot while sleeping at a home near Spanish Fork by his nephew, 23-year-old Damon Bushman, before Bushman shot himself. Police are unsure what prompted Bushman to shoot the Salt Lake County corrections sergeant, but family said the two didn’t like each other.

(Courtesy of Unified Police Department) Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Chad Elwood Conrad

Kammy Mae Edmunds, 34 • March 31 — Found bloody and bruised in her Mount Pleasant home. Edmunds fiancee, 35-year-old Anthony Jeffery Christensen, reportedly beat Edmunds to death and tried to blame her death on a car crash. He is charged with murder.

Maria Alegandra Ayala, 19 • April 3 — Shot in the head while driving her car in a Taylorsville apartment complex parking lot. Four teens were questioned in Ayala’s death, but investigators didn’t connect them with the homicide.

G.L.D, 1 • April 13 — Died of brain trauma four days after she had a seizure at her Cedar City home and was taken to a hospital. The baby also had healing rib and arm fractures. The child’s mother, Cherokee May Dea, 24, and her boyfriend, 30-year-old Brendan Russell Dalton, were charged with murder.

Matthew Holt, 46 • April 16 — Shot during a robbery on Easter near the Jordan River Parkway in South Salt Lake. Holt had struggled with health issues his entire life, but died at the hands of Jeffery Ray Shepherd, 36, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15-years-to-life in prison.

| Courtesy Matthew Holt.

Jchandra Brown, 16 • May 5 — Hanged herself in a wooded area in Payson Canyon, though prosecutors allege she wouldn’t have died without the help of 18-year-old Tyerell Przybycien, who was charged with murder.

Courtesy photo Jchandra Brown

Roger Haven, 69 • May 10 — Stabbed multiple times by his stepson, David Russel Erekson, 42. Erekson lived with his mother, Gundi McClarin, at their Huntsville home, and reportedly assaulted them both the night of Haven’s death. Erekson was charged with murder.

Kathie Thomas, 64 • June 5 — Found burned to death in her West Valley City after her daughter, Loralie Kathie Querbach, 46, set a fire outside Thomas’s bedroom door while her mother slept. Querback was charged in her mother’s death, but died in her Salt Lake County jail cell of apparent asphyxiation, prior to court proceedings.

Memorez Rackley, 39, and Jase Rackley, 6 • June 6 — The mother and son were killed when a man Memorez Rackley had briefly dated rammed into a car in which they were riding and opened fire, also injuring Memorez Rackley’s older son and a girl riding in the car. The assailant, 32-year-old Jeremy Patterson, who had been threatening Memorez Rackley prior to her death, killed himself at the scene in Sandy.

(Courtesy of GoFundMe) Memorez and Jase Rackley.

Jeremy Hardman, 47 • June 7 — Struck by a car after a confrontation in West Valley City with a man he accused of abusing a Chihuahua. The man — 40-year-old Aaron Daniel Hosman — allegedly retaliated by killing Hardman. He was charged with murder.

Thomas Dunn, 58 • June 11 — Shot in a drunken altercation outside his Murray apartment, purportedly by his neighbor, 56-year-old Carl David Johnson Jr. Johnson was charged with murder.

Sandra Nickells, 73 • June 17 — Shot by her husband, Tom Nickells, 76, before he killed himself outside their Beaver County home. Tom Nickells said he shot his wife because she had Alzheimer’s and other health problems.

Eli Ray Poowegup, 38 • June 20 — Killed on the Uintah-Ouray Indian Reservation. Deland A. Cornpeach, 19, was charged with murder.

Richelle Horsley, 47 • June 22 — Shot by her ex-girlfriend, 49-year-old Fransiska Dastrup, outside a Taylorsville apartment complex just days after Horsley applied for a protective order against Dastrup. Dastrup apparently killed herself that night.

Jill Lloyd, 36 • June 28 — Shot in her car in West Jordan by the man she had a child with 11 years earlier. She and 33-year-old Andrew Jed Larsen had been in a custody battle for years. Larsen killed himself hours later in Tooele County.

| Courtesy Shooting victim Jill Lloyd.

Angelina Costello, 3 • July 6 — Allegedly beaten to death by her parents, 25-year-old Miller Costello and 22-year-old Brenda Emile, who reportedly attempted to hide the toddler’s injuries with makeup before calling police. The Ogden couple are charged with murder.

Nancy May, 55 • July 16 — Found dead in her Salt Lake City home with her husband, Mark May, who had hanged himself. Police believe Mark May killed his wife before killing himself.

Paige Espinoza, 25 • July 16 — A dispute between Espinoza, her boyfriend and Gino James Cecala resulted in Cecala allegedly firing into the Magna home of Espinoza’s boyfriend, killing her. Cecala was charged with murder and was arrested in early December in Dallas, Texas.

Kevin McCann, 55 • July 25 — Beaten to death with rocks and a paving stone during an “unprovoked” and “random” rampage against four people in Salt Lake City’s homeless district. Kepedro Dedrick Kegler, 42, was charged with aggravated murder in McCann’s death, and faces additional charges for allegedly attacking three others.

Shawn J. Manymules, 26 • July 26 — Shot to death in Salt Lake CIty’s homeless district, just across the street from Pioneer Park. Police are searching for two persons of interest shown by security camera footage to have been in the area about the time of Manymules’ death. No arrests have been made.

Guy Wells Mecham, 51 • Aug. 2 — Shot in the back after an hours-long argument with his girlfriend, 41-year-old Stephanie Dawn Payan, at the home they shared in the town of Duchesne. Payan was charged with murder.

Romeo Rodriquez, 14 • Aug. 3 — Shot while riding in a pickup truck with several other purported gang members near a West Valley City park considered the territory of a rival gang. Frank Tsinnijinnie, 18, was charged with murder.

Isaac Moncada-Rivas, 32 • Aug. 3 — Shot during an alleged dispute over drug-dealing territory in downtown Salt Lake City’s homeless district. Oscar Armando Carrillo Flores, 23, was charged with murder.

Maria Sanchez, 47 • Aug. 13 — Allegedly shot in her sleep at her Ogden home by gang members who thought they were targeting the home of rival gang members. Daniel G. Garcia and Tre’von Jordan Zamora, both 16, were charged as adults with murder.

Will Ryan, 17 • Aug. 19 — Killed when he and another 17-year-old were hit in a drive-by shooting in Magna. Police believe the two were targeted. Though a 17-year-old with gang ties was initially arrested and charged in the case, police now say no one is in custody.

Miraheta Skender, 49 • Aug. 20 — Found shot to death in her West Valley City home, alongside her husband, 51-year-old Samir Skender. Police believe Samir Skender killed Miraheta before shooting himself.

Sukakee Manyhides, 20 • Aug. 23 — Found dead “under suspicious circumstances” on a road northwest of Whiterocks, a community on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. Persons of interest, Zhondee Nephi, 30, and Drew Black, also 30, were arrested in connection with her death.

Robin Nichols, 35 • Aug. 24 — Found strangled to death at her Spanish Fork home. Nichols’ husband, Curtis Nichols, told police he returned home to find his wife dead, but investigators say they found no signs of forced entry into the couple’s home, and DNA evidence indicated the husband and wife had been fighting prior to her death. Curtis Nichols was charged with murder.

Jordan Moulton, 21 • Aug. 26 — Shot in a yard in Midvale. Police haven’t arrested anyone in connection with his death.

Phillip Brandon Bourgeois, 47 • Aug. 27 — Allegedly fatally beaten by his 27-year-old step-son, Jace T. Zeeman. The fight began when Zeeman tried to break up an argument between Bourgeois and Zeeman’s mother outside their American Fork home. Bourgeois, hospitalized with multiple facial fractures and a brain injury, died at the hospital Sept. 1. Zeeman was charged with manslaughter.

Baby boy, 1 month • Sept. 7 — Punched to death because he wouldn’t stop crying. The baby’s father, Matthew Daniel Graves, 22, told police he “blacked out from rage” and couldn’t remember how many times he hit the baby. Graves, who lived in Roy, was charged with murder.

Eugene Rowland, 29 • Sept. 8 — Stabbed to death at a Magna gas station. Jose Francisco Hernandez, 44, reportedly attacked Rowland because he believed he’d broken into his house earlier in the day. The two had apparently have “various disagreements” in the weeks leading to Rowland’s death. Hernandez was charged with murder.

A.S. K., 2 weeks • Sept. 17 — Likely died from brain injuries. The baby boy, who lived with his mother and her boyfriend in West Jordan, was reportedly abused and malnourished his entire life. The baby’s mother, Maria Elena Sullivan, 26, and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Dylan Kitzmiller, were charged in his death.

Lloyd Everett Pace, 55, and Tami Lynn Woodard, 50 • Sept. 19 — Killed when a truck rammed into the car they were riding in. The people in the truck — Rosalio Andres Alvarez, 19, Argenis Daniel Ramirez-Saedt, 19, Jose Luis Cirilo Munoz-Lugo, 24, and Jose Humberto Mancia, 17 — were reportedly fleeing the area after firing shots at a home in Kearns associated with a rival gang when they struck the car. No one was injured in the shooting. All those in the car were charged with murder.

(Courtesy GoFundMe/Maile Latu) Lloyd Everett Pace and his fiancee, Tami Lynn Woodard, were killed in a car crash that followed a drive-by shooting in Kearns on Tuesday night. Police said as four suspects sped away from the scene of the shooting in a pickup truck, they struck the car with Pace and Woodard inside.

Baylie Rutherford, 1 • Sept. 27 — Previously removed from her parents’ custody because of drug use, Rutherford died just over a month after being allowed back to the Wendover home. Rutherford’s mother, 28-year-old April Dawn Carter, was charged with beating her child to death, after telling police she tripped and fell on the child.

Joshua Belen, 20 • Oct. 21 — Fatally shot near the Olympic Oval in Kearns. Police haven’t arrested anyone in his death and are unsure of a motive.

(Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Belen) Joshua Belen

Ever Hernandez, 33 • Oct. 25 — Shot in the head while in his car in a parking lot in Murray. The shooting prompted his car to cross State Street during rush hour and hit several other cars. Police allege 19-year-old Lucas Marc Deprey killed Hernandez over a drug-related dispute. Deprey was charged with murder.

ChenWei Guo, 23 • Oct. 30 — Shot in an alleged carjacking attempt. Guo, an international student at the University of Utah, was visiting Red Butte Canyon with a friend when 24-year-old Austin Boutain allegedly killed him so he and his wife, Kathleen, could steal his car and flee Utah. The couple also is accused of killing Mitchell Bradford Ingle, 63, in Colorado, and stealing his guns and truck before arriving in Utah. The couple have been charged in connection with Guo’s death and are being investigated in connection with Ingle’s slaying.

ChenWei Guo (Photo courtesy University of Utah)

Dan Zuniga-Guzman, 22 • Nov. 1 — Found outside his West Jordan home with a gunshot wound in his chest. A childhood friend, 23-year-old Jesus Molina, allegedly shot Zuniga-Guzman, who he’d driven home, because of an argument Zuniga-Guzman had with a woman in the car, 22-year-old Breaaunah Huff. Huff and Molina, are both charged in his death.

Cody Henderson, 27 • Nov. 1 — Found dead in a garage in a Willard home. Police say Henderson was bludgeoned to death and bound with ropes. Chay Lance Blair, 25, who lived at the home, has been charged.

Keri “KC” McClanahan, 28 • Nov. 2 — Stabbed to death in her room at a Park City condominium complex. Her husband, 46-year-old Anthony McClanahan, told police she had been attacked by two or three men, but detectives believe he killed his wife. Anthony McClanahan, a former NFL prospect, has been charged.

(Photo courtesy of the Gauf family) Keri "KC" McClanahan

Robert Liddiard, 85, and Diane Liddiard, 78 • Nov. 4 — Found stabbed to death in their Holladay home. The couple’s son, 51-year-old Robert John Liddiard, who reportedly has mental health issues, has been charged.

Colby Scott Barney, 30 • Nov. 5 — Shot in the chest after slashing 28-year-old Robin William Lundin’s face with a razor. Barney was backed into a corner at a West Point home and had given up the fight, when Lundin allegedly shot him. Lundin has been charged with murder.

Jessica Griffith, 42, Samantha Badel, 16 and Alexendre Griffith, 5 • Nov. 9 — Found dead in their Mapleton home alongside 45-year-old Timothy Griffith and the family dog. Police believe Timothy Griffith killed his wife, step-daughter, son and dog before shooting himself.

Linton Livingston, 67 • Nov. 15 — Allegedly stabbed by his neighbor while they argued outside his Salt Lake City home. He suffered a spinal cord injury and died Dec. 2 at the hospital. Police said Livingston and Dyann Mariel Hernandez, 23, had a history of arguing with each. She has been charged with murder.

Michael Hoffman Jr., 44 • Nov. 19 — Found dead outside a rental home in Sandy. The cause of Hoffman’s death has not been made public, but a search warrant affidavit says he suffered facial trauma. No one has been arrested or charged.

Hunter Woodson, 19 • Nov. 21 — Shot at his Sunset home after selling 17-year-old Seth JD Carreras “spices” instead of marijuana. Carreras has been charged as an adult in Woodson’s death.

Brian Housley, 28 • Nov. 27 — Caught up in apparent gang-related violence, Housley was shot inside an Ogden home on Nov. 27 and died three days later. Police don’t believe he was the intended target in the shooting because he is not affiliated with any gangs. Police have questioned several people, but have not made any arrests.

Mechelle Lindberg, 25 • Nov. 28 — Found dead from a gunshot wound at a Salt Lake City motel. Joshua Valasi Saunders, 37, was charged with her murder.

(Photo courtesy of Cameron Lindberg) Mechelle Lindberg was found dead in a Salt Lake City hotel Tuesday morning. Police are searching for two people believed to be with Lindberg before she died.

Toussaint Tyler Jr., 30 • Dec. 10 — Shot by a man allegedly attempting to scare Tyler into paying his debts. Shaun Fleming, 36, and another man reportedly forced their way into Tyler’s Taylorsville apartment and killed him. Tonita Vianay Rico, 49, was allegedly involved in the intimidation scheme. Rico and Fleming have been charged.

(Photo courtesy of Central Washington University Department of Athletics) Toussaint Tyler, Jr.

Other Utah deaths

Six homicides in Utah were ruled justified, or are being investigated as self-defense:

Nicolas Sanchez, 38 • Feb. 21 — Shot by Roy police officers after they confronted him at a convenience store. Officers reported Sanchez pointed his gun at them, prompting them to open fire. Prosecutors ruled the use of force justified.

Bartolo Justice Sambrano, 25 • Feb 22 — Killed by Ogden police officers who were investigating Sambrano and another man as they reportedly prowled cars in a parking garage. Security footage shows officers fired at Sambrano after he pointed what appeared to be a gun at them.

Puleaga Danny Tupu, 33 • March 30 — Shot by the resident after he and another man kicked in the door to a Salt Lake City apartment in an apparent attempted robbery. Prosecutors ruled Stewart Sant, 29, was justified in the shooting, but charged him with three second-degree felony counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute after finding drugs in the apartment. The other man, identified as John Finau Valasi, 34, was charged with aggravated burglary.

Patrick Harmon, 50 • Aug. 13 — Shot by Salt Lake City police officers after they pulled him over for riding a bicycle without a red tail light. Harmon attempted to run from police, and officers shot him after he reportedly threatened officers with a knife. Sale Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill ruled the shooting justified, but the FBI is reviewing the case.

Michael Bruce, 39 • Sept. 28 — Shot by a Salt Lake City police officer at downtown convenience store after attacking another officer with his own baton. The use of force was ruled justified.

Adalberto Farias-Diaz, 25 • Oct. 21 — Killed in an exchange of gunfire after a fight with another man in Ogden. Prosecutors are awaiting the results of Farias-Diaz’s autopsy before determining if the shooting was done in self-defense, as police initially believed.

At least four Utahns (or former Utahns) were killed outside the state this year:

Nadja Medley, 48, Payton Medley, 14, Cheryl Baker, 57 • June 19 — Found dead at an Idaho farmhouse shortly after 60-year-old Michael Bullinger and his wife, Cheryl Baker, moved there from Ogden. Family members believe Bullinger killed Baker and his girlfriend Nadja Medley after the two found out about his infidelity. He is also a suspect in the death of Payton Medley, Nadja’s daughter.

Kristy Manzanares, 39 • July 25 — Allegedly killed by her husband off the shores of Alaska while on a cruise to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Kenneth Manzanares, 40, has been charged in her death.