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Teens charged with murder in Christmas Eve killing of West Jordan boy, 16

Kenneth Gant, 16, was found dead in West Jordan after allegedly trying to join a rival gang.

(GoFundMe) This undated photo shows Kenneth Gant, a 16-year-old West Jordan boy whom police said was found dead on Dec. 25, 2021. Two teens, ages 17 and 18, were arrested in connection with the fatal shooting.

Two teens were charged with first-degree murder Tuesday in connection with the shooting death of another teen.

Kenneth Gant, 16, was found dead Christmas Day behind a storage container near the Gene Fullmer Recreation Center, located at 8015 S. 2200 West. According to charging documents, Kenneth was shot multiple times on Christmas Eve by Jedediah Newsome, 18, and the 17-year-old suspect when Kenneth attempted to join their gang.

The teens were arrested on Dec. 28 after they allegedly stole a car at gunpoint in West Valley City, according to a probable cause statement. Charging documents allege that the two were attempting to flee the area prior to their arrest in the stolen vehicle. The 17-year-old had searched for bus tickets to Colorado, records state.

After their arrest, Newsome told police that he and the younger suspect killed someone on Christmas Eve in West Jordan. He gave an approximate address where Kenneth’s body was found, according to a probable cause statement. Newsome told police he stole the gun from a vehicle before the fatal shooting.

A GoFundMe page set up to pay for Kenneth’s funeral expenses described Kenneth as a “smart, funny, sweet young man” who loved everyone, “especially his mom, sister Victoria and his brother Victor.” It featured a photo of Kenneth wearing a red beanie, holding a puppy in a pet store.

Newsome was put on probation on Dec. 7, a few weeks before the killing, after he was convicted of theft by receiving stolen property, court records show.

He is currently being held at the Salt Lake County Jail, where he faces one count of murder, two counts of discharging a firearm resulting in serious bodily injury, one count of possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person, and one count of obstructing justice.

Newsome also faces three counts in connection with the car theft: aggravated robbery, possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, and failing to stop at the command of law enforcement.

The 17-year-old suspect is being held at the Salt Lake Valley juvenile detention center. He faces one count of murder, two counts of discharging a firearm resulting in serious bodily injury, and one count of possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person.

His next court hearing is slated for January 13. Newsome’s next court hearing is scheduled for January 25.

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