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Drug shooting plea bargain: Skipps admits manslaughter, attempted murder

By Mark Shenefelt - | Jan 13, 2022

Photo supplied, Ogden Police Department

Caleb Skipps, 19, of Pleasant View has been arrested in connection with a Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, shooting in Ogden that left a North Ogden man dead.

OGDEN — A 21-year-old Pleasant View man pleaded guilty Thursday to reduced charges of manslaughter and attempted aggravated murder resulting from a drug deal shooting in an Ogden church parking lot two years ago.

In the plea bargain announced in 2nd District Court, Caleb Skipps admitted to the Jan. 9, 2020, shooting that killed Isaac Gonzalez, 21, of North Ogden, and wounded another man. Charging documents said Skipps, a heavy marijuana smoker, went to the drug buy in the 200 block of Porter Avenue armed with a Ruger 380 handgun.

The Weber County Attorney’s Office originally charged Skipps with first-degree felony aggravated murder, the attempted murder charge, second-degree felony obstructing justice and two firearms charges. Prosecutors agreed in the plea bargain to drop the obstruction and gun charges.

Prosecutors and Skipps’ attorney, Emily Swenson, agreed the murder charge would be amended to second-degree felony manslaughter, which calls for a one-to-15-year prison term, and that the first-degree felony attempted murder charge could be sentenced for 10 years to life in prison, compared to the customary sentence of 15 years to life.

The plea bargain came five months after Judge Camille Neider upheld the constitutionality of Ogden police detectives’ interrogation of Skipps. Swenson argued police did not properly handle addressing the issue of Skipps’ Miranda warning, which gives defendants the right not to talk to police without an attorney present.

But Neider ruled that Skipps was aware enough to tell misleading stories to police at the start of the interrogation. She said Skipps “initiated the conversation where incriminating statements were eventually made. … The officers allowed the defendant to keep talking and capitalized on his willingness to talk, but they did not overcome his free will or put pressure on him, and they let the situation evolve.”

Neider set sentencing for March 7. Attorneys asked that Skipps be given credit for the two years he has spent at the Weber County Jail.

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