FARMINGTON — Two of three defendants have been convicted of charges related to a fatal drug robbery in Layton, while plea-bargain talks for the accused triggerman are stalled.
Angel Christopher Abreu, 25, appeared by video Tuesday before 2nd District Court Judge David Connors for a pretrial hearing. He is charged in the Sept. 27, 2018, shooting of Anthony Child, 26, in a Layton mobile home.
“We have made good-faith efforts to negotiate a plea but have been unable to do so,” Kent Morgan, one of Abreu’s attorneys, told Connors, asking that a trial date be set.
The judge said because of Utah Judicial Council restrictions to guard against COVID-19, late fall at the earliest is the feasible time frame “for something that looks more like a normal trial.”
Officials have prepared courtrooms for socially distanced trials, but most defense attorneys and their clients have opted against them.
“COVID has created several issues in seeking justice,” Morgan said. He said Abreu wants a fair trial and added that COVID-affected proceedings are “not a good way to get justice.”
Abreu is charged with first-degree felony counts of aggravated murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated kidnapping and a second-degree felony charge of obstructing justice.
Davis County prosecutors alleged Abreu and Brandon Hinojosa, now 18, entered the mobile home to rob cash and drugs. Hinojosa allegedly duct-taped people in the home and Abreu confessed to police that he shot Child.
Prosecutors said Kevin Content, now 27, owed Abreu $8,000 and they plotted the robbery. Content was outside during the shooting and he later went back in to clean up blood and pick up shell casings.
On Jan. 26, Hinojosa pleaded guilty to reduced charges in a plea bargain and was sentenced to prison.
Prosecutors originally charged the teenager with murder, a first-degree felony; aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony; aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony; and obstructing justice, a second-degree felony.
The plea bargain reduced the murder count to second-degree felony manslaughter, the kidnapping charge to a second-degree felony, and the obstruction charge was dismissed.
Connors sentenced Hinojosa to five years to life for the burglary and one to 15 years each for manslaughter and kidnapping.
Content also agreed to a plea bargain. Charges of murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated burglary were dismissed in return for guilty pleas to two obstruction of justice counts, one a second-degree felony and the other a third-degree felony.
Connors sentenced him on Oct. 6 to two suspended prison terms, credit for time served in jail and four years of probation.
Connors on Tuesday set another pretrial hearing for Abreu on April 27.