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Utah man pleads guilty to shooting, wounding estranged wife and her friend

Courts • He waited at spouse’s home with a meat cleaver, gun.

Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune Unified Police apprehend a suspect at far left, that they put a white jumpsuit on to maintain evidence that may be on his person. The suspect had heavily barricaded himself in a home after shooting a woman who had come to try to calm down a domestic dispute near 3300s and 700e.

A Salt Lake County man accused of shooting and seriously injuring his estranged wife and her friend during a bitter divorce pleaded guilty on Friday to a reduced number of criminal charges.

Valentin Dulla Santarromana, 38, was originally charged in 3rd District Court with 31 felonies in connection with the Aug. 22, 2015 shooting at his Millcreek area home that wounded his estranged wife, Jennifer Andrus, and her friend, Jai Hogue.

On Friday, Santarromana pleaded guilty to four first degree felony charges — two counts of attempted aggravated murder, and one count each of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault. He also pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree felony assault on a peace officer, court records show.

In exchange for the plea, Salt Lake County prosecutors dismissed 26 other counts.

Santarromana faces a maximum punishment of up to life in prison on each of the first-degree felony charges and a term of one to 15 years prison on the second-degree felony charge when he is sentenced Nov. 17 by Judge Royal Hansen.

On the day of the shooting, Andrus and Hogue had gone to the house to care for Andrus' dogs. Andrus, who had filed a protective order against her husband, went into the house, while Hogue waited outside.

Court papers say Santarromana — armed with a gun and a meat clever — was waiting inside and hit Andrus with the gun and the meat cleaver before she ran to the front door to get Hogue to call police.

Santarromana followed and shot at Hogue 15 times, striking her in the chest, ear, shoulder, midsection, pelvis, forearm, hand, groin, knee and calf.

During an ensuing standoff with Unified Police, Santarromana held his wife hostage in the basement laundry room, firing at officers who were trying to negotiate his surrender and Andrus' release, court papers say. No police officers were injured.

Before police could enter the home to rescue Andrus, Santarromana shot his wife five times, including in an arm, a leg, an ankle and in the head, causing her to lose her right eye.

Santarromana had also been charged separately in connection with an earlier domestic violence episode, in which he allegedly threatened his wife with a machete.

Court records show that case also was resolved Friday, with Santarromana pleading no contest to one third-degree felony count of domestic violence in the presence of a child. The charge carries a possible penalty of up to five years in prison. Two similar counts and one count of aggravated assault were dismissed.

Sentencing in that case also will be held on Nov. 17.

jdobner@sltrib.com

Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune Unified Police and SWAT officers responded to a scene where a suspect had heavily barricaded himself in a home after shooting a woman who had come to try to calm down a domestic dispute near 3300s and 700e, Saturday, August 22, 2015.

Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune Early in the standoff, Unified Police SWAT officers get a view of the house off camera to the right where a suspect was heavily barricaded after a domestic dispute that turned into a standoff near 3300s and 700e, Saturday, August 22, 2015. The suspect had fired at officers, and turned on the gas in the house.

Valentin Santarromana. Courtesy photo