A Utah man has been charged with fatally shooting his sister’s boyfriend after police found his fingerprints on a discarded Pepsi can. The sister has been charged with trying to cover up the crime.
James Scott Arnold, 25, has been charged in 3rd District Court with murder, a first-degree felony, along with obstruction of justice and possession of a gun by a restricted person, both second-degree felonies.
On Sept. 29, police were called to a home at 125 E. 4800 South in Murray, where they found Carlos Huerta-Garcia, 22, had been shot. He was taken to a hospital, where he died a short time later.
Although Huerta-Garcia was found in the living room, police found a “large amount of blood,” a shell casing, hair believed to be the victim’s and a bullet hole in the wall of a closet by the front door, according to charging documents.
When questioned by police, Vanessa Arnold said she and Huerta-Garcia had been upstairs. He went downstairs, she said, and there was a gunshot. She ran downstairs, saw Huerta-Garcia on the floor, and — when she looked out the open front door — saw a person in dark clothing running away.
According to a probable cause statement, surveillance footage from two days before the shooting showed a man in a white sedan with a black hood outside the home where Huerta-Garcia was shot. The man was seen throwing a Pepsi can out of the car; police retrieved the Pepsi can, and on it, they found a fingerprint that matched James Arnold.
On the night of the shooting, surveillance footage again showed a white sedan with a black hood next to the home, police said. A gunshot can be heard on the footage, and a man is seen leaving the home, getting into the sedan and driving away. Cell phone data and witnesses identified that man as James Arnold.
According to police, Vanessa Arnold “denied activity seen clearly on video surveillance,” made inconsistent statements and “made up names of people.” When confronted about one of those inconsistencies, “she pulled her hair and hit her head so hard it caused a seizure and sent her to the hospital for treatment,” according to charging documents.
Vanessa Lucia Arnold, 40, has been charged in 3rd District Court with obstruction of justice, a first-degree felony; and witness tampering, a third-degree felony.
A witness told police that James Arnold had called him and said he had killed Huerta-Garcia — that he shot him one time in the head in the closet, and that he was prompted by “a bad relationship with Carlos disrespecting Vanessa,” charing documents state. The witness told police he refused to help James Arnold get out of town, and that Vanessa Arnold told him “if anything happened to James, she would kill” him.
After the shooting, Vanessa Arnold helped James Arnold leave the state, the witness told police. According to charging documents, James Arnold changed his identity and moved to Las Vegas, where he was arrested.
James Arnold, who was on probation at the time of the shooting, is being held in the Utah State Prison.