OGDEN — The state called their first witness after opening arguments took place Friday in Ogden for the trial of a South Ogden man accused of murder.
Jonathan Francisco Delgado, 33, was again present and donning a suit in court during the second scheduled day of his trial.
Delgado has been charged with one count of murder, a first-degree felony, and obstructing justice, a second-degree felony, in connection with the shooting death of 37-year-old Ogden resident Steven Snider on Dec. 30, 2016.
During opening arguments, deputy Weber County Attorney Letitia Toombs — one of three prosecutors representing the state — outlined the allegations against Delgado, and what they believe occurred during the day of the shooting.
Toombs said the issues began when Snider sent a text message attempting to solicit sex from the sister of Agustin Gil, who was a coworker of Delgado’s.
Later that day, a fight ensued between Snider and Gil, Toombs said. The two began fighting inside an apartment building located at 2680 Adams Ave. in Ogden, which spilled out onto the sidewalk in front of the building. Gil and Snider continued to fight outside, with Gil whipping Snider with his torn shirt. Toombs said Gil then heard a loud bang, and Snider slumped on the ground.
Two police officers were around the block conducting an unrelated traffic stop, and ran over seconds after the shot was fired. Gil, who was standing over Snider’s body, got scared and ran back into the apartment, where he found Delgado getting into the shower, Toombs said.
Toombs went on to claim that Delgado called three people after the shooting and admitted to the killing. One call was placed to Gil’s sister, who told investigators that Delgado told her “I shot Steven for you,” according to Toombs.
During her opening statement, Toombs hinted that Delgado would not be testifying during the trial, telling the jury that they will “hear from everyone but the defendant.” She went on to say that Delgado’s statement during a police interview is the only testimony that is different from others at the scene.
Defense attorney Logan Bushell — one of three attorneys representing Delgado — gave the defense’s opening statement. Bushell began by thanking the jury for being willing to carry out their civic duties.
Bushell reminded the jury that Delgado is innocent until proven guilty, and the burden of proof is levied on the state. You can’t convict someone based on what seems like truth, he said.
Much of the state’s case relies on testimony, Bushell said, and that testimony sometimes conflicts with what others at the scene say what happened.
Bushell alleged that a handful of people at the scene who will testify were using methamphetamine at the time of the shooting, something he said his client did not do that day. Bushell added that a drug test taken that day will back up his claim.
Bushell also claimed that a witness to the shooting — who police found after the man said in Facebook comments that he saw the whole thing happen — was paid money by lead investigator Detective Travis Kearl of the Ogden Police Department after the witness positively identified Delgado in a photo lineup.
“Mr. Snider deserves justice,” Bushell said. “But it would add insult to injury to rush to a hasty judgement.”
Kearl was present in court, and was the first witness called to testify by the state.
The beginning parts of Kearl’s testimony consisted of what he was told during interviews with witnesses at the scene, prompting objections by both the defense and judge citing the testimony as heresy.
A video of Kearl’s interview with Delgado was also shown, where Delgado claims he was on the phone with his girlfriend for roughly 40 minutes during the approximate time of the shooting. In the video, Delgado acted surprised when he heard there was a dead man on the sidewalk outside.
Kearl went on to answer questions regarding call logs and texts sent from Delgado’s phone. Investigators did not find a 40 minute phone call to anyone, and found a text that said “yo am going to jail bail me out,” according to Kearl.
Following the jury’s dismissal for lunch, Judge Ernie Jones admonished Toombs for asking leading questions that only require a yes or no answer from witnesses, saying “It’s totally inappropriate.” He also reprimanded her for “a lot” of heresy in Kearl’s testimony, saying he’d rather have witnesses give their side of the story instead of the investigator telling it secondhand.
Delgado’s trial will continue on Monday in Ogden’s 2nd District Court. He is currently being held without bail in the Weber County Jail.