Valdes, accused of Roy double homicide, faces death penalty

Apr 19 2010 - 11:04pm



OGDEN -- "It's on," Weber County Attorney Dee Smith said after Monday's hearing where Jeremy Valdes noisily rejected a plea bargain that would have saved him from the death penalty.

Speaking with reporters, Smith was referring to the coming year or more of motions and hearings that highlight any death-penalty prosecution, if recent cases are any example.

Riqo Perea's capital case went to trial last month and ended in his conviction after more than 2 1/2 years of proceedings for a double gang homicide in August 2007 in Ogden.

It took three years before Glenn Howard Griffin was convicted in 2008 in a Box Elder County slaying.

Both Perea and Griffin avoided execution.

The capital homicide charges against Valdes, Perea and Jacob Ethridge, still pending in a 2008 double homicide in Ogden, were the first filed in Weber County since 2001. Griffin's were only the second filed in likely 50 years in Box Elder.

Valdes not only rejected the plea bargain Monday, but he also went on a rant for several minutes in open court claiming innocence, noting, "I will expect an apology."

Valdes is charged with aggravated murder in the Nov. 25 killing of Pamela Knight Jeffries, 56, and her son Matthew Roddy, 30, in their Roy mobile home.

Valdes and his girlfriend were staying at the mobile home at Jeffries' and Roddy's invitation.

The altercation came after Valdes' hosts called police to report Valdes for stealing Jeffries' prescription painkiller OxyContin. The bodies of Jeffries and Roddy were found hidden in a closet in the trailer.

Valdes has a long history of abusing prescription drugs, something he has been without since he was jailed Dec. 1.

Valdes lashed out Monday in accusing police of perjury, claimed 2nd District Judge Mark DeCaria insulted his family and fumed at his co-defendant girlfriend for selling him out.

"That's what he believes," Valdes' public defender, Gary Barr, said after the hearing of Amanda Statler, who last month entered into a plea bargain a week after she testified against Valdes at his March 10 preliminary hearing.

Barr will be filing a suppression motion in coming weeks on his client's claim that police denied his request for an attorney four times during eight hours of interrogation.

DeCaria set a hearing for June 17 on the suppression motion.

"We will have a hearing on that matter June 17 and let the officers speak for themselves," Smith told reporters.

Prosecutors earlier Monday filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty, something they had promised a week ago if Valdes decided not to take their offer of pulling the death penalty off the table if he pleaded guilty to the charges.

He would then have faced life in prison, or life with possible parole.

"I'm tired of the atrocities being spoken about me, and I'm not going to take it anymore," Valdes railed in the courtroom. "... I've got a photographic memory, and that's something you don't know about me."

Of Statler, he said, "Unless you call Dionne Warwick and the Psychic Friends hot line, you won't know what Miranda knows."

After a somewhat disjointed pronouncement of all who know him well "feeling nothing but love for me," he concluded by saying, "Miranda knows the truth. Even I don't know the whole truth. In the end, you will all know the truth."

Then as he was led out of the courtroom, he thanked Barr, and just as he entered the doorway to the detention rooms adjacent to the courtroom, he turned to the gallery to say, "I love you, Mom."

"It was consistent with what we've seen in the last few months," Smith said of Valdes' outburst.

Police say Valdes confessed, and Statler, charged with lesser offenses, led them to a knife that had been thrown in the river at the mouth of Ogden Canyon. Statler told police that Valdes used the weapon to stab Roddy.

According to medical testimony, Roddy was stabbed 31 times.

At the March 10 hearing, on the police tape recording played in court, Valdes can be heard describing killing Roddy.

"He turned around and I was stabbing at him," Valdes says on the recording.

Police said Valdes kicked and beat Jeffries, then duct-taped a plastic bag over her head to suffocate her.

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