Wednesday , March 11, 2015 - 12:34 PM
Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune Jeremy Lee Valdes, who pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree felony murder for the Nov. 25, 2009 killings of Pamela Knight Jeffries and her son, Matthew Roddy, enters court for a sentencing hearing on Monday, March 10, 2015.
OGDEN -- Jeremy Valdes was ordered to serve two sentences of 15 years to life, consecutively, at the Utah State Prison for his two murder convictions.
Valdes pleaded guilty to the murders of Pamela Jeffries, 56, and her son, Mathew Roddy, 30. Their bodies were found stuffed in a closet in their mobile home in Roy a week after they had been killed. Investigators said the two had died on Nov. 25, 2009.
Valdes, 38, stood at the podium with his attorney on Wednesday while Judge Mark DeCaria spoke briefly, then sentenced him.
On Tuesday, DeCaria heard testimony and received evidence to determine if Valdes would serve the two life sentences consecutively or concurrently.
Valdes maintained he was acting in self-defense when he stabbed Roddy.
Investigators and prosecutors said Valdes went to the mobile home in 2008 with the intent to harm Roddy and Jeffries because they accused him of stealing pills from a prescription bottle.
DeCaria said Jeffries and Roddy had given up their lives.
“They could not predict their own lives were at risk in their own homes,” DeCaria said.
The sentences DeCaria ordered was in “recognition for what they have given up.” DeCaria said.
Valdes had said Jeffries and Roddy were his friends, but Valdes had put his own selfish needs before their lives, the judge said.
“Life really must be more precious than that,” DeCaria said.
“Each of those two murders were committed in a very brutal way,” DeCaria said.
DeCaria said Valdes had stabbed Roddy, who was 30 years old in 2009, 32 times. Valdes then kicked Jeffries, who was 56, in the head and beat her.
“Putting the bag over Ms. Jeffries' head was strictly to kill her,” DeCaria said.
DeCaria said Valdes then weaved stories in order to escape responsibility, saying Valdes’ actions were “narcissism.”
As Valdes was led away, he said, “Thank you, your honor.”
Valdes pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in January. He was arrested in 2009 for the deaths of Roddy and Jeffries. Police say Valdes stabbed Roddy to death and beat Jeffries unconscious, then suffocated her with a plastic bag.
After the hearing, family members of Jeffries and Roddy hugged each other in the court hallways and also hugged the prosecutors. Tears were wiped away from faces.
Jeffries’ brother, Jeffrey Knight Briggs and her sister, Debra Knight Owen, spoke to the media.
Briggs said they are feeling “Relief. After almost six years.”
Owen said the entire process “was really unfortunate for all, but the sentence was just and fair.”
Deputy Weber County Attorney Branden Miles said after the hearing that Valdes would probably spend the rest of his life in prison.
“We are pleased with the outcome,” Miles said.
Miles said Valdes should have learned his lessons with his previous cases prior to the murder.
Miles said the purpose of the presentation on Tuesday “was to show the court the full measure of the evidence of this case. It’s one thing to read that somebody has been stabbed 32 times, it’s another thing to see the evidence of that.”
Miles said there was no evidence to support Valdes’ claim he was defending his life.
Roddy’s blood was all in the bedroom, not in the kitchen or the hallway where Valdes said they fought, Miles said.
“If it happened the way (Valdes) said it happened, we would’ve seen blood evidence of that,” Miles said.
DeCaria also sentenced Valdes to serve three other prison sentences for cases he was charged and pleaded guilty to in 2008. DeCaria ordered Valdes to serve one sentence of 0 to 5 years, one sentence of 1 to 15 years and one sentence of 5 years to life.
Valdes’ then-girlfriend Miranda Stlater 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 last year.
Miles said investigators believe “based on the evidence” that Stlater was held responsible for her role in the murders. Valdes had said that Stlater knows more than what she has already told investigators.
“Did she start out being truthful with us? No. She lied to investigators, but they broke her down pretty quickly and when she broke, details started to come and those details were verified with physical evidence and other independent evidence,” Stlater said.
Valdes’ case was repeatedly prolonged over the years by his firing of attorneys and trying to prove a diminished mental capacity.
Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SELorettaPark.