OGDEN -- A judge Wednesday sentenced Robert McCullar to 15 years to life in Utah State Prison for a murder that spiraled from a spat over a cigarette.
McCullar, 50, was found guilty July 22 in the Dec. 22, 2009, stabbing death of Filiberto Robles Bedolla, 49, in his apartment at 2560 Adams Ave.
The trial was almost 18 months in the making, with seven days of testimony and arguments before 2nd District Judge W. Brent West. But the jury needed barely six hours to reach a verdict.
McCullar's confrontation with Bedolla began when Bedolla appropriated McCullar's cigarette after McCullar left it burning on a newspaper rack at a convenience store. He had planned a quick stop in the store, then expected to resume smoking the cigarette, a common practice there.
But Bedolla got it first, and a brief argument ensued, with Bedolla using a racial slur and spitting on McCullar.
McCullar then followed Bedolla stealthily for an hour or more, jumping him as he went inside his nearby apartment.
"You know how my temper is," McCullar was heard to say on video that police secretly taped of him confessing to his 4-foot-11, 47-year-old, heroin-addicted prostitute girlfriend, who turned informant.
The defense at trial claimed McCullar was taking credit for the killing to impress the woman enough to move to Dallas with him.
Bedolla was stabbed 14 times, with the worst slash opening his throat. McCullar then manipulated the crime scene, according to testimony, leaving a pornographic video playing in the DVD-TV combo at the foot of Bedolla's bed. The attempt was meant to make it appear that an acquaintance committed the crime.
The trial offered a glimpse of Ogden's inner city, the older part of town with a concentration of residents on probation and parole in the area roughly defined by Adams Avenue and Monroe Boulevard and 20th and 30th streets.
McCullar was something of a homeless pimp at the time of the slaying, betrayed by the girlfriend for whom he helped find tricks, drugs and hotel rooms.
The first, and so far only, homicide of 2011 occurred just three blocks from Bedolla's residence. A 42-year-old transient was shot to death July 13 at 524 29th St., near the Adams Avenue intersection with 29th Street.
In July 2008, two street-walkers were fatally shot in the area of Adams and 24th and 26th streets, killed by Jacob Ethridge, now in prison serving life without parole.