Thursday , March 12, 2015 - 6:53 AM
OGDEN --- Jeremey Valdes took the stand Tuesday and told in his own words how Pamela Jeffries, 56, and her son, Mathew Roddy, 30, died.
Valdes, 38, said he had gone to the mobile home where the two lived on Nov. 25, 2009, not to kill them but to buy some heroin.
His version of the events differed from what prosecutors said happened. Valdes claimed he was defending his life and the life of his then-girlfriend, Miranda Statler, who he thought was pregnant at the time.
A two-day sentencing hearing for the 38-year-old man began Tuesday before Judge Mark DeCaria with a graphic slideshow and audio recordings. DeCaria has taken the case under advisement and was scheduled to render a sentence at a 10 a.m. hearing on Wednesday.
Prosecutors are asking that Valdes serve two consecutive sentences of 15 years to life for his two guilty pleas to murder. Valdes’ attorneys are asking the judge to order the two sentences be run concurrently.
Valdes pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in January. He was arrested in 2009 for the deaths of Roddy and Jeffries.
Prosecutors presented evidence that showed Valdes kicked and beat Jeffries multiple times before wrapping a plastic bag around her head, which suffocated her. He also stabbed Roddy 32 times. He then stuffed their bodies inside a closet, cleaned the home and washed his own clothes in their washing machine. Their deaths occurred on Nov. 25, 2009. Their bodies were found a week later after Valdes’ sister called police.
Valdes said in his statements Tuesday that it was Roddy who had the butcher knife and threatened to harm Statler. The two men ended up fighting and wrestling, and Valdes said he got the knife away from Roddy.
He then stabbed Roddy, but did not know how many times. About the same time, Jeffries came out of the room and fought with Statler.
Valdes said, “I remember seeing the light go out of Matt's eyes. It will haunt me until my death.”
Valdes said he prayed over Roddy’s body and cried.
He said Statler knows more about what happened that day than what she has told investigators or prosecutors.
Valdes took a moment and apologized to Jeffries’ and Roddy’s family members who sat on the front row.
“I know sorry is just a word,” Valdes said, his voice breaking with emotion. “I have nothing else besides words and I'm sorry for that.”
Valdes’ mother, Merilee Valdes, also took the stand, describing Valdes as a tender-hearted, kind man who cries at movies and who “is not a cold-blooded killer.”
Jeffries’ sister, Debra Owen and her brother, Jeffrey Briggs Knight, also spoke in court. They described their sister as a person who loved others and was willing to help everyone.
Owen said the days following the news of the murder of her sister and nephew were difficult for her because she kept blaming herself. She had spoke with Jeffries just a few days before and was worried because Jeffries was afraid to leave her home.
“The grief I carry is deep,” Owen said.
Owen said she tried to call Roddy and Jeffries on Thanksgiving, but the call went straight to voice mail. It was just a few days later she got a phone call from the Roy police chief who told her about the murders.
Owen said she does not want death for death but justice.
Owen said she has prayed every day for Valdes and hopes he will turn to God to find forgiveness or that “he meets God face-to-face and receives his perfect justice, eternal death.”
Tuesday’s hearing began with a graphic presentation from prosecutors.
Deputy Weber County Attorney Branden Miles said Valdes had gone to the mobile home to beat up Roddy. He ended up stabbing Roddy 32 times. Investigators believe Roddy had been stabbed in the back first and then his assailant had jumped on top of him, continuing his attack.
Miles then demonstrated what type of force it would take to stab someone 32 times by pounding his fist into the podium and counting out loud 32 times, which brought tears to the eyes of those in the courtroom.
Miles said Valdes also kicked Jeffries multiple times in her head, even when she had fallen to the floor, causing her brain to swell and bleed. Blood had splattered on the walls, furniture and floor from the assault. He showed a black and white photo of Jeffries, which showed her face was swollen and disfigured.
Statler was also arrested and convicted of obstruction of justice for her assistance in hiding the bodies. She was sentenced to prison in 2010 and released in 2014.
Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SELorettaPark.
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