FARMINGTON — A former Nevada man has been sentenced to prison after admitting to killing a man in Bountiful in 2018.
Taniela Siale Lopiseni Salakielu, 23, was sentenced on Wednesday to a term of one to 15 years in a Utah state prison.
Slakielu was accused of killing 50-year-old Rand Hatch in his Bountiful home in August 2018. He was arrested days after Hatch’s body was discovered and has been held in the Davis County Jail since.
In November, Salakielu signed off on a plea agreement that reduced his first-degree felony murder charge and dropped two other felonies — single counts of burglary and theft. Salakielu pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter, a second-degree felony.
Police were called to the home at 1433 Lakeview Drive on Aug. 19, 2018, after some family members went to check on Hatch, who had not been heard from in days prior. Family members were able to open a garage door to get into the house, and found Hatch dead inside, according to Bountiful Police Officer Carl Hadley.
Hadley testified during an October preliminary hearing and recalled how Hatch’s body was found kneeling and slumped over on a couch in the living room. He said Hatch’s body was so heavily decomposed when it was found that investigators had difficulty determining how Hatch had died, or even who he was, and how there were blood smears throughout the living room.
An autopsy revealed that Hatch had suffered “severe” fractures to his skull, jaw and ribs, along with other fractures near his eye orbit and other facial areas.
The next to testify was the woman, who said she witnessed part of the attack.
“He hit Randy,” she said during the preliminary hearing. “I started crying. I don’t like to see that, so it hurt me.”
She testified that she only saw Salakielu strike Hatch once with a “small stick” before she left out of the front door of the home. She said she heard Hatch let out a moaning sound before she left, then nothing. Minutes later, she saw Salakielu leave the house, and described him as “sweaty,” but couldn’t recall seeing any blood on him.
As of Friday, Slakielu was already transferred from the Davis County Jail to the custody of the Utah Department of Corrections. He is being held at the Utah State Prison in Draper.